Spectrum Health Systems

From In and Out of Prison to Peer Recovery: Jose’s Story

Published On: September 27th, 2021Categories: Spectrum Corrections, Treatment & Recovery

In honor of National Recovery Month, we sat down with Jose, a former member of our Everyday Miracles Peer Recovery Center in Worcester, MA, to hear about his recovery story.

Jose’s addiction first began when he was living on Main Street in Worcester, MA – an area challenged by widespread drug use. At age nineteen, Jose’s substance use became especially serious. Eventually, he was arrested and sentenced to the Walpole State Prison for ten years on drug charges. Following his release in 1998, things got worse before they got better.

How It Started

While serving time in prison, Jose was able to get sober. Unfortunately however, his family and friends started using heroin while he was in prison. Jose was released and returned home where he fell back into his old ways. On Main Street in Worcester, “we were looked down upon and had bad representation, but that is where my friends and family were, and it was all I knew at the time.”

At one point, Jose entered the hospital for a heart infection where he stayed for 4 months. During this time, he was prescribed medication that exacerbated his addiction, and when he left, he knew he needed to find long-term recovery. Though he had successfully navigated multiple stretches of time without substances, they always ended in a relapse, and every time he felt like he lost more and more of himself. “You work so hard, and then it feels as if it’s for nothing, and you’re back to square one.”

Following his initial incarceration, Jose continued to find himself in and out of prison. He was released for the last time in 2018 and went straight to his mother’s house. There, he met up with a friend who suggested he look into a peer recovery program or a sober house. That is when Jose came across Spectrum’s Everyday Miracles Peer Recovery Center.

How It’s Going

Upon entering Everyday Miracles in Worcester, MA, a light turned on for Jose. “The center gave me direction, made me more accountable and able to trust my recovery process.” He knew he never wanted to return to prison and that he had found a safe and supportive environment where he could work on his recovery, without the triggers of prison and the outside world.

While spending time at the peer recovery center, he was able to attend meetings both in person and virtually. “I looked forward to the meetings, to be able to connect with my peers, and hear and share stories of our addiction and recovery journeys. It helped me feel more connected and made me feel like I was becoming a better version of myself.” The Peer Recovery Center gave Jose meaning, drive and a purpose.

“My recovery was within me. I had been looking for help for years, but I didn’t know where to begin. I didn’t want to buy into any system and follow strict guidelines on how I had to present myself to my peers. Spectrum allowed me to come as I was and provided me with the ability to build my recovery.”

Jose currently resides in Webster, MA and works as a House Manager at the Reconciliation House and a Recovery Coach at Opening the Word Recovery Center. Jose wants anyone struggling with addiction to know that while it can be scary, you don’t have to fight it alone. Jose decided to work in recovery to help those struggling, like his Main Street friends, as he knows what it feels like to be alone. He wants to help those who feel they don’t have anywhere else to turn.

Peer recovery centers are a wonderful resource for people in recovery. Peer mentors and others with lived experience can provide inspiration and accountability for people seeking long-term recovery.

If you or a loved one is struggling with drug addiction, call Spectrum Health Systems today at 1-877-MyRehab. If you are a caregiver, friend or family member of someone struggling with addiction, join our free virtual family support meeting series Wednesday evenings starting in October.

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