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Your compassion helped Ed move past addiction and create a new life for himself

Unemployed, drinking heavily, addicted to drugs, and surviving on social services, Ed had been homeless on and off for over 10 years– sometimes sleeping in his car, in a tent near the freeway, or on the streets. 

“I wasn’t working. I was receiving food stamps and whatever services I could get… and taking advantage of all of it.” Ed admits he would regularly trade his monthly food subsidy for alcohol and more drugs.

Because of his persistent drug use, Ed spent much of those 10 years in and out of hospitals. His first hospital stay lasted 3 months because of a serious case of gangrene, which then led to a staph infection. Upon his release, Ed returned to the streets and picked up right where he left off, continuing his drug and alcohol use without any concern for his health, his family, or his future.

As his health continued to decline, Ed found himself once again in the hospital for another lengthy stay. Ed admits he would sneak out of the hospital with the help of friends to drink and use drugs.

As the years went by, Ed grew tired of the life he was living and the toll it was taking on his health. He was literally sick and tired of it. The life he was living was full of chaos and uncertainty. One day, Ed decided he had enough. “I just couldn’t do it anymore.”

One courageous day, Ed picked up the phone and asked for help. Soon after, Ed entered Volunteers of America’s Housing program where he learned how to manage his sobriety, navigate his new normal, and even how to get and keep a job. “Volunteers of America taught me that there can be life after alcohol and drugs,” says Ed. “They taught me how to stay sober, how to live again, how to talk to people, and how to be productive in society.”

Ed proudly completed the program in 2014. “From where I was then to where I am now – it’s like night and day,” Ed recalls with tears in his eyes. “I have a union job now; I could have never imagined that before.” Ed cites the support he received at Volunteers of America as the reason he is still alive today. “I never would’ve had the life I have now without getting sober and getting into a program that helped me up.”

“Your kindness means everything to me. If it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t be here.”