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Jim’s Story – A Veteran’s Strength

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Jim is a resident of Liberty Hall, Cazenovia Recovery's program for Veterans in recovery from substance use

Jim is a Veteran at Liberty Hall, Cazenovia Recovery’s program for Veterans in recovery from substance use. At the moment, he’s beginning his search for apartments in Buffalo, and he has reconnected with his family. However, things weren’t always so promising. “Not too long ago, I was homeless and living on the edge,” Jim said.

“One of the biggest challenges was just change,” he explained. Jim noticed that many of the friends he grew up with were not supportive of his desire to get better. “I was hanging out with the wrong people. I told them that I can’t go down that road, but it’s hard. All of a sudden I can’t hang with them anymore.” Instead, Jim is focusing on making new friends and meeting new people. This can be a challenge in any situation, but Jim remains positive. “It’s going pretty good and it tells me that there are lots of things to do without the use of drugs and alcohol.”

Of course, he recognizes that change is never easy. “An old timer told me once that if I don’t change, I’ll be collecting change on the street.” What he realized is that he didn’t want to live like that and needed to find something new.

Helping Our Veterans in Recovery

Thankfully, there are many resources available for our nation’s Veterans in recovery. Before finding his way to Liberty Hall, Jim received treatment with the VA in Canandaigua. He’s been at Liberty Hall for a few months, and it’s been very helpful for him. “The counselors at Liberty Hall care about us,” he said. “Barb Bowman, my counselor, has helped me a great deal. We sit down and talk about what’s going on with me. Everyone goes the extra mile to help.”

Family is a big focus for Jim. “When I was using, I wasn’t just hurting myself,” he explained. “I was hurting my family, too.” He explained that he couldn’t bring himself to connect with his family while he was struggling with addiction. Now, he and his family members speak regularly, and they’re always checking in on how he’s doing. “Things are much better,” he said. “I really look forward to seeing my mom and my family. Liberty Hall has really helped me reconnect with them.”

Giving Back

Knowing how addiction has affected his life, Jim gives back to the community in impressive ways. For one, he provides outreach to kids and young adults on the realities of addiction. “I tell them the consequences of drugs and alcohol,” he explains. “It helps me a lot since there are so many kids out there using who are stuck.” Jim does not sugar-coat his message: “Addiction can kill. I’ve seen it. I’ve had eight friends die from overdoses recently.” Despite this, he sends a hopeful message: “There’s help out there,” he says. “Again, recovery isn’t easy. You have to change everything.” To say the least, Jim has rediscovered his resolve and courage while at Liberty Hall. “I’m not ashamed to say that I’m in recovery,” he noted. “Sharing my story gives me strength.”

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