Guest post by John Harker, current participant at the Tallahassee Renaissance Community Center. The center provides many services to the homeless, ranging from shower and laundry facilities to medical and educational needs.
I used to look like a skeleton. All I did was drink alcohol and not eat. The doctors told me I was bleeding inside and if I didn’t stop drinking I was going to die. But now, thanks to the Renaissance Center, my life is new and I’m grateful for the opportunity to get a new start.
I began drinking when I was 10 years old. My mother and father were alcoholics and they owned a bar, so alcohol was always around and available. I hit bottom earlier this year when I walked all the way from my daughter’s home in Midway to Tallahassee in order to get away from serious family problems.
I was homeless and had heard about the Renaissance Center, but I didn’t really know what it was. I just knew I had a lot of problems and I needed help, so I walked in. I was fed up with my life. I’ve tried so many other ways to stop drinking, too many to count. I was broken.
With the help of the Center, I took the first steps towards sobriety and self sufficiency. I worked to get an apartment through the “A Place Called Home” program with Ability 1st. I have a disability, so Ability 1st helped me figure out the process of applying for benefits. I went to a 12-step sobriety program. The encouragement of the Center’s staff helped me stay the course.
You’ve got to want help. I put all I had into learning how not to drink and how to live a new life. But I can have all this knowledge and it does me no good if I don’t use it. Wisdom is knowledge applied.
Now I’m proud of what I have accomplished. I’ve been sober a few months and I have an apartment now. I went to a graphic arts school and want to continue painting pictures, even if they are just to hang on the walls of my apartment. It’s quiet around here, except on football game nights. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the Center. Now I have a future.