Hope. That is what Ben has now that he didn’t have six months ago, when he contemplated taking his own life. He credits DePaul’s substance abuse counseling services as well as his 12-step meetings with giving him that hope and bringing him out of the darkness.
“There’s hope just for someone to listen to me,” said Ben. “There’s hope that someone can understand me. There’s hope that someone can accept me. There’s hope for a future.”
Ben has struggled with mental health and addiction issues for 30 years. He deals with anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, depression, and substance abuse. He has gone in and out of therapy, in and out of sobriety, in and out of his family’s life.
“I needed to fill the hole that was inside of me … the drinks and drugs were my solution,” said Ben.
Months ago, Ben was in that dark place after going through a major crisis. He somehow found the strength to seek support and began attending recovery meetings. It was on his way to a meeting that he drove past a DePaul office, a moment he calls “divine intervention.” He saw the words “community resources” and decided to do some research. He visited DePaul’s website and two words caught his eye and gave him the courage to call.
“I saw the words ‘hope’ and ‘belonging,’ and I was desperately lacking both,” said Ben.
Ben fights back tears reflecting on his first phone call from a member of DePaul’s counseling services team. It was 93 minutes long.
“I still get emotional now because no one had been listening to me,” said Ben.
DePaul began offering substance abuse counseling services early this year in hopes of addressing a serious community need. The goal of the program is to help those struggling find a place of hope and belonging, seek positive connections, and empower themselves on their journey.
“Everyone at DePaul really worked together to ensure that Ben received the appropriate service as quickly as possible, and I believe that effort helped him see there are people ready and willing to listen and help,” said Jason Poston, director of community-based services.
Ben has been sober for a couple months now. He fills his days with recovery meetings and counseling, which seem to be complementing each other well.
“I’m able to get as much out of it as I put in … that’s the way I look at it,” said Ben.
Some days are harder than others, and on those days, he takes it moment by moment and that’s enough. He is working on being grateful for things in his life, even though he doesn’t have much right now. What he does have is hope, thanks to his meetings and his counseling. Hope has saved his life.