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Category Archives: PRO-ACT

My Pathway to Hope

hopeThe word ‘hopeless’ has always stirred up sadness in me.  It seems so final, lacking any room for progress.  I’ve been hopeless.  I’ve been called hopeless. I’ve heard friends whisper behind my back that I lost the willingness to live.  They were right.  I was an active heroin and cocaine user for 15 years and my only job on this earth was to make it through one more day. 

Like so many others, my addiction started with herniated discs, a visit to an empathetic doctor, and a large dose of depression.   I wanted to be out of pain….physical, emotional and mental agony, and my desire met opportunity that day.  From that moment on, the spiral of addiction went downward at top speed and I became a completely different person.  No one knew who I was anymore, especially me.

Then life as I knew it changed.  With a knock at the window of my Nissan Pathfinder and a beam of light hitting my face shone by a man in blue, I realized in that instant that nothing was going to be the same.  I was both terrified and relieved that the life I created was finally over.  The police officer didn’t understand why I thanked him when he pulled me out of my car.  He stopped what I couldn’t.

Going to jail was my intervention, but meeting people who were already on the path to recovery was where my journey started.  I surrendered. I listened. I hoped.  And I had to trust people I never met before. 

I knew about PRO-ACT through the Recovery Walk and a staff member who came weekly to the halfway house where I lived in 2008 (who later became my sponsor!).  She asked if I could stop by the Southern Bucks Recovery Community Center to stuff envelopes, and I did.  I came back the next day, and the next.  I became a volunteer, a facilitator and a recovery coach.  I did this for over a year until I felt I was ready to go back into the work force.  I was supported and encouraged.  I treasured recovery.  I loved meetings and sponsorship and helping others who struggled. I knew this was my calling.

I saw an ad in the paper for a non-profit organization that worked in substance abuse and it needed help with data entry.  Not knowing it was The Council, or that it was  related to PRO-ACT, I applied and got the job.  That was in 2009.  I now manage The Council’s Women’s Recovery Community Center, continue as a Data Coordinator, and help women who struggle to get another day clean by showing them recovery is possible. 

I hope my recovery story helps our communities to see the reality that there truly is help, hope and healing from addiction.  Because today, when I see the word ‘hopeless’, I only see the first four letters, and for that, I’m grateful. 

Jan Landis, CRS
House Coordinator/Data Coordinator
Women’s Recovery Community Center
The Council of Southeast Pennsylvania, Inc./PRO-ACT

An Ode to PRO-ACT by a Volunteer

I thank God for this place
or who knows where I’d be
still lost, killing myself
or living life too care-free.

At first I was hesitant
didn’t know what to expect
just the thought of being judged
and couldn’t stand no more neglect.

But to my surprise
this is just where I needed to be
with people who understood
and who were willing to help me.

The doors were freely open
I was gladly welcomed in
in my book of life
a new chapter can now begin.

Cause we’ve all traveled the same roads
using different forms of transportation
regardless of our differences
we’ve all caused a lot of devastation.

But today’s a new day
and PRO-ACT’s help set me free
with the resources and support offered
each day becoming a better me.

I don’t know about you
but this place helped save my life
learning to deal with emotions
and stop causing harm and strife.

Today I’m grateful, so appreciative
without being here don’t know what I’d do
from the depths of my heart and soul
PRO-ACT, I truly “thank-you”!

by Sakeenah Edge
PRO-ACT Volunteer

To find out how you can volunteer for PRO-ACT click here.

On Martin Luther King Day: What would you like your legacy to be?

MLK dayTo me MLK day is a day of remembrance, refection and action. Growing up as a teenager in the 1960’s, even though I was young and lived a sheltered life, I remember the Civil Rights Movement. I can recall watching TV and listening to my uncles who would gather under a tree sipping on juice after a long day’s work and discuss the Civil Rights movement and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It was a confusing time for me not being able to understand why I, or anyone else, had to be subjected to different standards because of the color of their skin or just because they were different. 

As I grew older and was introduced to my environment and reading about MLK the man and his beliefs, I came to the realization that he was not just an ordinary person. He had the perseverance to bring or the ability to help “change” come about. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the greatness “Change Agents” to walk the face of the earth.   MLK was not only for Civil Rights issues but he fought peacefully for all social injustice. He was loved and respected throughout the world. He was a selfless person. He gave all he had of himself and his life to better mankind.

Like MLK, today I truly feel blessed to be a foot soldier for the Drug & Recovery Community. My life is now dedicated to giving back and advocating for stigma reduction, public policy issues, treatment, prevention and recovery support services, for individuals with drug and alcohol addiction and for their family members. 

Today I feel just as MLK, that there are still too many causes for one to advocate for or to speak out about in this world.  For one to live their life without speaking on a cause is a life wasted.  As I’ve become older I sometimes think about what I would like my legacy to be.  There are many quotes used from MLK, today for me it’s from“The Drum Major Instinct”. 

 “If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don’t want a long funeral. And if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy, tell them not to talk too long. Every now and then I wonder what I want them to say…I’d like somebody to mention that day, that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others. I’d like for somebody to say that day, that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to love somebody. I want you to say that day, that I tried to be right on the war question. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe those who were naked. I want you to say, on that day, that I did try, in my life, to visit those who were in prison. I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity.”  -Excerpt from the MLK speech “The Drum Major Instinct” (1968). 

What would you like your legacy to be?

Fred Martin, a person in long term recovery
PRO-ACT Philadelphia Project Coordinator

Looking for an opportunity to volunteer on MLK day of service?  Join PRO-ACT in revitalizing the streets of Lehigh Avenue.  Click here for details.

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