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Ron's Story

“I’ve come a long way.”

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Realities of Substance Use

Ron started using drugs when he was 14, and he’s struggled with staying substance-free for ten years. It’s only gotten more dangerous as he’s gotten older. Ron has a history of heroin, and he’s survived 13 overdoses throughout his use. Like most people with a substance use disorder, he’s also witnessed the loss of many friends and family members. “It wiped out half of my neighborhood,” Ron explained. “I lost so many people over the last ten years.” Ron’s experience is a familiar tragedy affecting communities all across Western New York.

The realities of active use can be difficult to acknowledge, but Ron knows that facing his past is important. “I couldn’t stay out of jail for more than 3 months,” he said. “I was homeless, I had warrants, and I slept in abandoned houses in the freezing cold,” Ron added. “My own mother was scared to have me around.”

A Step Forward

Thankfully, Ron also knows what it’s like to be free of drugs. In fact, he was able to stay substance-free for over three years. “It was the best three and a half years of my life,” Ron said. His journey back then started at Stutzman Addiction Treatment Center, and he later went to Unity House and our Supportive Living program. After finishing treatment, Ron got a car, his GED, and even a house.

Things were looking promising until COVID turned the world upside-down. “I didn’t know what to do without my meetings, and I started going back into old behaviors. I knew I was headed for disaster,” said Ron. When he experienced a recurrence of use last year, he sought help pretty quickly. He went to Cazenovia Manor and then went back to Unity House where he experienced another recurrence. “I was struggling,” he said. He told the staff at Unity House that he wanted “to go back and start all over.” They agreed and helped him transfer to Turning Point House.

How to Find Hope

Ron’s been at Turning Point House for 90 days. While the last year has been a challenge for everyone, it’s been especially difficult for people with substance use disorders. Ron’s experience at Turning Point House shows that there’s still hope. One of the things that makes the program special is its location; it’s in a quiet, wooded property in Eden. Ron loves the scenery there. “I like going outside and looking at the woods,” he said.

He’s taken the past year to improve his relationships with his family, and he’s happy to say that things are going well. “Everybody’s back in my life,” he explained. “It’s amazing. I couldn’t do it without this place.” Ron’s getting ready to move back to Unity House soon, too. He’s looking forward to continuing where he left off. “I want to go back to school when things open back up,” he said. At the moment, he’s thinking about welding. Like so many people with substance use disorders, Ron knows what to do when he needs to find hope. “I have my life back,” he said. “I’ve come a long way.”

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