Our SABER program offers substance use treatment to men experiencing homelessness and struggling with addiction. The program combines three months of treatment therapy with six months of continuing care. Here’s a story from Arthur, a program participant:
“I was born on December 16, 1957, in Washington, D.C. I had three older brothers who were selling and using drugs, so at the age of 12, I started drinking and smoking marijuana. I did that for a few years, and it graduated to smoking some crack and PCP around the age of 16.
“I saw my mother and father struggling financially, so I decided I would help, and I started robbing stores. At the age of 18, I robbed a hotel and went to prison. While in prison, I used my time to go to school and learn a lot about law. My attorney learned that my rights were violated, so my time went from life plus 25 years to 12 years, but I only served about 6 years.
“I was 24 years old when I got out of prison the first time. I stayed in Washington, D.C. for about six months and moved to Rock Hill, South Carolina, to help care for my grandmother. I was glad I did that because most of my friends in Washington had died from the lifestyle or overdoses. I got a job and started a family. I had two sons. I was doing good for about six years until my cousins came to Rock Hill with heroin. I started selling and using again for about five years. I was back to prison at age 33 in South Carolina.
“Around the year 2000, I came to Charlotte for treatment. I went to Rebound at first and stayed sober and clean for four years. I started hanging out with guys at my job and started using crack again. I have been homeless since 2000. In 2016, I went to Anuvia, where I had a very nice counselor. She helped me get into SABER. I did good for the first three months. Then I relapsed on beer and lots of liquor. I went to detox on July 9, 2018. The SABER staff allowed me to return, and now I get it.
“I have been sober and clean since July 9, 2018. This program has taught me I can live a normal life, and I can’t control everything. Since being at SABER, my oldest son was killed in Texas at my 9-month mark. I’m proud I made it through the situation. Two months later, my youngest brother was killed by a trash truck. I made it again. I made it through those hard times. I have truly started to accept things the way they really are now. SABER is a clean and safe environment. Being here, I have stabilized my thinking and feelings. I also feel like a role model for some of the guys. I’m still here because I know the counselors are around to help me when I need them.”
“My plans for the next five years are to get my own house, but currently I’m still dealing with my criminal record until that time comes. I know I’m safe here. I’m proud that my life has changed for the better.”