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National Recovery Month Feature Story

National Recovery Month Feature Story

Recovery Month Interview with Lisa

We recently had the opportunity to interview Lisa to learn more about her journey to recovery with PathPoint. Roxanne the Housing Manager for the Behavioral Health Division and a Residential Support Services Specialist conducted the interview.  Lisa receives support from both Roxanne and Paths to Recovery Case Manager Daisy.

Q: Lisa, would you say that you are in recovery?

Yes, I am in substance abuse recovery, and recovery as far as mental wellness.

Q: Tell me how you manage your recovery?

I stay away from places where you might find people that have drugs, where I know drug use to be happening. As far as mental wellness I stay away from situations that are stressors. I know what is too much and I call a time-out for self-care. Usually I go home and do whatever I need to do.

Q: You have a routine that you like to do?

I have a schedule. Anyone that knows me well enough knows that at any given day or time you can usually find me. If I leave town to see my parents, someone in mental health knows. The date that I leave and the date that I’m expected back. If it’s going to be longer then I give them a call.

Q: When did PathPoint come into your life?

I was working in the Care Closet at the Wellness Center (then the “Fellowship Club”) and I started working with PathPoint. Because of PathPoint’s help, 7 years ago I moved from Lilac House into my own independent housing at El Carrillo.

Q: Did you go to groups there?

El Carrillo, if you are just getting stable on your meds or coming off the streets, is the perfect place to start on the quality of your life. Maybe you’ve come from drug rehabilitation or a group home and you can’t tell what meds you’re on, but it’s like you’re learning to walk all over again, and there were things in place to make you a successful, independent person. Anybody that was new there, staff would make a point of knocking on your door to say “How are you doing? Is there anything that you need?” And there was always somebody downstairs in the clinical office that you could talk to.

Q: What would you say have been your greatest challenges?

Learning to say “no” – it took me more than three years in therapy to say no. It’s a violent word, “no.” I’m kind of a people pleaser, I feel if I say “no” it’s kind of personal, which it is, but it really isn’t.  

Q: Are there any PathPoint staff that have stood out for helping you?

My first case manager took me a long way. If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t have a legal first name and I wouldn’t have an I.D. And I didn’t want to get legal then (she laughs). My case manager had to coax me in with a San Roque coffee before I would even fill out the paperwork for the birth certificate and the I.D. She was younger, barely 30, and I was older, had lost kids, had a sick parent, ended up on the street and it took a good social worker with a fresh eye and a good heart to look at things with a different perspective so that there was hope and not just dire consequences. Like when I decided to sabotage my first apartment by bringing in the best crack-head in Santa Barbara. It took a yard-duty teacher like her to step in and set those boundaries for me – I couldn’t do it back then.

Q: You said your first case manager represented a turning point in your life…

She always remembered my birthday, she knew the date when I was raped, that I would be more than disturbed and give me no caffeine but chamomile tea, and something she printed out about how to relax and take care of myself. And because she knew I loved music she would point out that Darryl Hall is a schizophrenic and he would sit there on the corner and talk to himself while playing “Serious Smile.”

Q: Having worked on yourself every day for several years, does it change how you see others?

I can see the sickest person and relate, because I’ve been there. And if there’s somebody that’s been stable for as many years as I have who still wants to wish and hope and dream and still thinks that there are things to be achieved I can relate to that all the way.

Q: Do you sometimes think that others should work on themselves?

Yeah. Just taking a pill isn’t going to cure it. Working on your mental illness, plus therapy, plus socialization equals quality of life.

"I can see the sickest person and relate, because I’ve been there - I can relate to that all the way." - Lisa