Life Skills Development at Anuvia

The FOCUS program may appear to just be an escape route for troubled youth, but it is not a way for troubled youth to be in denial of their actions. The FOCUS program’s approach caused my youth to face their actions, the consequences of their actions, and that every action might cause a reaction. The program seems to have taught my youth to accept responsibility for actions.

The FOCUS program also seems to have the design to encourage parents to consider the parental extremes that might have contributed to the actions of their youth, if the parent was over-controlling or demanding or smothering the youth, or if the parent lacked the knowledge or wisdom for giving balanced attention.

A Parent in FOCUS

Raising a Drug-free Kid

Something I learned and liked in the class [at Anuvia] was the emphasis on how important having good communication with your child is, and being someone that your child could come to is also important because many people think that being a parent is about strictly providing and doing for your kids, and it doesn’t stop there.

A Parent in FOCUS

Prevention Works for Prescription Drug Abuse

Dear Prevention Staff

Thank you for taking the time to come and give a presentation at our church on prescription drug abuse and prevention. This is not an area I have a lot of exposure to, and so I found the presentation to be illuminating. I am encouraged to know there are people like you working on this problem and that I can be a part of the solution. I look forward to using your presented information to better inform my counseling work.

Thank you,
A church intern

A Heart Attack Wakes up an Alcoholic

My story starts when I was 13 years old and had my first drink of beer. As I got older, I went to drinking more and more, so when I turned 35, I was drinking day and night. My only words were, “It makes me feel good and relaxed.” Boy, was I wrong. I wasn’t a mean drinker. I was just hurting myself inside and out.

In 2007, I had a heart attack and my girlfriend said I would die, but the Lord wasn’t ready for me yet. Now I am 5 1/2 years clean thanks to my God!

In 2012, I went to Anuvia [to clear up some old legal issues] and participated in a four-month class. All the time there, I learned things I didn’t know. The people there took their time to show how to stay on the right path because a person can slip at any time.

For those who are still drinking and drugging, life is too short to waste, so please do yourself a favor. STOP! Go to meetings, get a sponsor and remember always that you must not use. I hope this letter can reach out and touch someone.

P.S. oh yeah, thanks Anuvia – I miss you guys.

Take care,

From Near Death to New Life

Alcohol and pot took me to the darkest depths of my life. I nearly died on my last binge. What once had been my idea of “fun” turned on me and grabbed me by the throat. I knew that the part of me that craved alcohol wanted me dead, and I was terrified. That was the moment that I admitted I was an alcoholic, a drug addict and that I needed help.

I tried for years to control my substance abuse, but to no avail. I later learned that once I “crossed that line,” it was impossible to do it alone. I had become a slave to my addiction, and I was miserable.

I entered Anuvia with hope, but I was also very scared. They said I would have to change my entire being. Well, I didn’t much like me as I was, so I became honest, open and willing to change. I started AA the very same day, October 18, 2003. It has been an absolutely amazing journey ever since!

The folks at Anuvia were wonderful! At last I had found people who understood me. (My friends and family certainly didn’t!) From them I learned about the disease of addiction and that my problems were more than alcohol and pot. My inner being had become a shambles over the years, and I was so tired of living a lie. I pretty much gave myself over to the care of the counselors at Anuvia.

Anuvia provided a safe place to make the changes necessary to get clean and sober … and to stay that way. It was definitely not easy. Sometimes it was very painful, but out the ashes of my life arose a better me.

For anyone caught in the throes of addiction, there is hope. Is it easy? No. Can it be painful? Yes. But the gifts of sobriety and recovery are truly miracles.

Let the folks at Anuvia help you. The miracle can happen to you; just give it your all and let yourself be transformed into the person you were meant to be. I go back to Anuvia every chance I get just to share my experience, strength and hope with those are suffering from addiction. I am truly blessed to be able to do this. A 12-step program is a wonderful thing! It has helped bring peace and serenity to my life.

A Broken Spirit Healed

I was a lost man with a broken spirit when I arrived at Anuvia. Today, thanks to its wonderful staff, I am blessed with a better life.

I am a grateful recovering addict named Jeff W, and I want to share with you a little bit about my recovery. Anuvia is the start of a journey that’s awesome. I am grateful for the love, support and direction that I so badly needed. The most important tool Anuvia gave me was an education about the disease: I suffered from a disease called addiction. Because of Anuvia and my ongoing attendance at 12-Steps meetings, I have grown in areas that I never knew I had in me. Now, I live with the disease of addiction, but I know what I have to do to stay clean.

If you are reading this, please give yourself a break and find the help that’s available. You can start at Anuvia once you have made a decision to get better. Life can be so wonderful when you find the greater spirit within. I know because for more than 7 years I have been living this life in recovery. You can do it, too. Surrender the old you and enjoy the new you.

I will always be indebted to Anuvia. I would like to say here, in this space, “Thank you, God, for saving my life, and thank you, Anuvia and NA, for enhancing the life that God has saved.

Facing Homelessness, Hope Found at Anuvia

I loved cocaine. And I loved alcohol – probably more than anything else in my life. But in the end, after trying to kill myself with them, I realized that I really didn’t want to die for them. I’m so thankful that my family got me to Anuvia. I don’t think I’d be here today if I hadn’t made it there.

Beer became a regular part of my life when I was 16 years old: I’d been raped, and I just didn’t have any idea how to deal with it. Beer provided an easy way to escape and feel better. For years, my substance abuse spiraled from there: alcohol led to pot. That led to acid, and in my mid-20s, a “friend” introduced me to coke.

My life was a merry-go-round of partying. For a long time, I was a functioning drug addict and alcoholic: I had a job that required drug testing, and I picked my drugs by how long they would stay in my system: I never failed a drug test. I could always cut back for the testing. Alcohol was another story. I could never cut back on it for long. I got drunk every weekend at the very least.

But addiction is a progressive disease, so of course I got worse. I lost my job and got to where I was doing ½ an eight-ball of coke every day – by myself. It was total annihilation. I was estranged from my family and everyone who loved me. My “friends” cared about me only when I had drugs.

When I was getting evicted from my apartment and facing homelessness because every cent of my income was either going up my nose or through my liver, I began to really want help. I had been raised in the church, so that was the first place I tried to fix myself – to try to clean myself up and get my life in order. But I just could not do it. When I realized that there was no way I was going to be able to fix this, I went on 3-day suicide binge – alcohol, coke and crack cocaine. I can’t believe I survived, but I’m so glad I did.

I called my parents and begged them to help me. They couldn’t find an inpatient program that could take me immediately, but my brother knew about Anuvia (actually, it was called the Chemical Dependency Center then), and my family took me there.

When we arrived, I told the staff, “There is no way your little outpatient program can work for me. I need to be locked up. I’m too far gone.” I’m so grateful that I was wrong. It’s such a good program. I love that place. They just really care. My counselor was incredible, and I love her still. The staff was all amazing – I cry just thinking about how good they were to me. Even the receptionist is awesome. She remembers me even to this day. And I developed such a bond with the other women in my group. The classes were co-ed, but the groups were same-sex, which was great. We really wanted each other to succeed.

I learned a lot there – the education and medical knowledge has been so important to understanding my addiction and keeping me clean.

An Addict Turns the Corner

After being arrested for possession of heroin, I found myself in Mecklenburg County’s drug court. I started treatment several months after that, and I was eager to learn how and why I became addicted to heroin.

Because of my heroin addiction, I first had to be detoxed from methadone, and I attended 12-step meetings during this time. I did not know that I had a disease prior to coming to Anuvia.

During my treatment program I started to learn how to recognize my triggers and learn more about my disease. I feel that the people at Anuvia saved my life and gave me a new outlook for the future. I plan to continue staying clean and sober by going to 12 step meetings, working with my sponsor and doing service work. I want to give back what was so freely given to me!

I strongly recommend this program to other people seeking recovery. It saved my life!

First Drink at Age 8, Recovery at age 53

The first time I had a shot of rum was 45 years ago, when I was about eight years old. I got it from my grandmother, who was an alcoholic. Looking back, I realize now that my father was an alcoholic, too. In ninth grade, I started with the drugs.

I had no idea what kind of chaos and pain these things would unleash in my life. And once I was in the grips of addiction, I had no idea that I could ever have the kind of sane and happy life I have today. I really put a lot of effort into destroying myself. Finally, after years of failed attempts at recovery, what started turning things around for good was the professionalism and acceptance of the staff at Anuvia.

I tried rehab in Puerto Rico before I ever even came to the U.S. And then, over the years, I did a lot of treatment centers here, too. I went to a couple in New York City, and there was one I tried in upstate New York for five months. Then there were more in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Arkansas, another one in Charlotte, and finally Anuvia. I hit bottom many, many times, but I could never quit. Nothing ever worked for me until I got here. That was in December of 2001.

I had been in the inpatient program at a local hospital, and when I left, they kept recommending Anuvia. Of course, back then it was called the CDC. Finally, I went just because I was curious to find out why the hospital kept talking about it.

It was the first time I had ever experienced this kind of program. Everyone was definitely very warm and welcoming, but they knew this was serious, and they were very sensitive. They took everything into consideration. It really got my attention. My counselor was so professional, and very genuine – very real. There was no judgment, nothing like that. I’m so grateful for that – it really got me motivated.

There also was so much opportunity to identify with others – they put me at ease so I could drop my guard and participate in the group sessions. I had tried all this before, but here it was so personal. At one meeting when I was feeling very ashamed, a lot of people actually got out of their chairs to hug me. They really made me feel OK. I finally wasn’t scared any more about what people might say.

During that first year, I really concentrated on my recovery, and it was like finally waking up from a bad nightmare. I actually decided to go back to school.

With a lot of support from my friends in the recovery community, I enrolled in and completed an associate’s degree program. Then I applied to a bachelor’s program, and was shocked when I was admitted. I worked hard to become a social worker and give back in some way what I have received.

The future can be more different than we can even imagine. It’s hard for me to believe, but today I am a social worker, and I’m enrolled in a very competitive master’s program. Every day I have the opportunity to give others the amazing thing that the people at Anuvia gave me: another shot at life.

From Hard Drugs to Recovery

I was sixteen years old when I experienced my first encounter with heroin. I had never felt anything like it, that first hit made me feel like I was in heaven, floating on cloud nine. Hanging out with the fellas on Friday nights, partying, having a good time, not realizing that my life was about to become unmanageable.

It seemed like just an instant, like just one night turned my life into tragedy and misery. I lost my family, my job, my kids, and practically everything. I decided it was time to move away from the tumultuous life I was living in New York City. In 1983, I moved to Charlotte hoping this would change my life, and for a short time, it did. I stopped using, quitting “cold turkey” with no treatment or help from anyone. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, I felt numb, I felt painful needle pricks all over my body. I was sick and weak from all the damage I had done to by body, mentally, physically and emotionally. However, regardless of all the hurt and pain I experienced, “The Hidden Tiger” was still buried deep within my soul.

Shortly after, I started drinking alcohol to continue feeling the high I once felt with heroin. I believed that I was in control of my life, went to work, paid my bills, I did everything that a responsible person is supposed to do. I thought I wasn’t harming anyone, nor myself, and I wasn’t facing the same losses that I did using Heroin. Alcohol wasn’t as bad as heroin, or at least, that’s what I thought.

In 1985, I found myself hanging out with old playmates doing the same old thing I was doing before. I received my first DWI and was ordered to complete community service, pay a fine and attend a 20-hour treatment program at Anuvia. I thought, “I will do this and then I will be done!!”

I didn’t change my behavior, and I received another DWI charge on Super Bowl Sunday, 2001. Once again, I had been hanging out and having a good time with my friends. From 2006 to 2009, I stayed sober, and I hadn’t used heroin for 26 years, but I had to go to treatment to get my license back. That’s all I wanted, nothing else. Yet, my life took another turn for the worse. I had become encapsulated with old people, places and things. I could not stay clean, regardless of how hard I tried.
That is, until I learned the true meaning of acceptance. Through the help of Anuvia, I learned that when I applied myself and worked a program of recovery, I saw myself change. When I had reservations about my recovery, stopped using the 12 steps and stopped working with my sponsor, I set myself up for failure, not realizing how beneficial the program would be in helping me change my life.

I was getting older, and I knew I needed treatment. This time I wanted it. By taking a good inventory of my life, I suddenly realized that I was tired, tired of doing the same thing but expecting different results. I went to meetings and read my literature daily, worked the steps and talked to my sponsor who suggested positive and motivating activities to occupy my time.

The staff at Anuvia gave me tremendous support, encouraging me to talk in groups and share my problems. They showed me a better way of living and let me know that my recovery is my responsibility.

I met a lot of friends at Anuvia and people with similar problems that I could relate too. I could share things that I never shared before. I enjoyed coming in every morning to see everyone in my group. My group helped me to realize that I didn’t have to be alone in my recovery walk.

My eyes have been opened. I realize now that in my active addiction was not only suicidal to myself but also harmful to others around me. What I learned at Anuvia helped me to become a better person without the use of alcohol and drugs.

I can now proudly say that I am no longer living under the influence of my addictions.