SABER: Arthur’s journey

May 6, 2022

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.”