From homeless, to sober and employed in three years

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Johny Howard first came to Lifeline Connections in 2007. He was homeless, living behind a grocery store and sleeping in bushes. He graduated residential treatment and outpatient treatment, but continued to struggle with his dependence on alcohol.

Howard wanted sobriety, and continued to work by attending meetings and starting treatment in the Co-Occurring Treatment program (COT). Meanwhile, he suffered from anxiety and depression and had suicidal thoughts.

Because of the severity of his drinking he had burnt bridges with friends and been written off by family.

He qualified for a housing program through COT which paid his rent for a year at an Oxford house. He also worked with case managers for help navigating the system for General Assistance Unemployable (now Disability Lifeline) and applied for Social Security.

Through the support of Oxford, and the treatment he was getting in groups, individual therapy and medication management Howard began to stabilize. In 2010, his family began to open up to him again and by the time his favorite baseball team clinched the pennant he was attending family weddings, being invited to holiday gatherings and taking pride in his new role as a contributing member of the family.

This year Howard was able to have his teeth pulled and received dentures. Coupled with his maintained sobriety, this not only gave him the self confidence he needed to smile, but also seek employment. He worked with an employment specialist and was able to secure work part time to pay for his rent on his own.

He continues to live in the Oxford house as a leader. This month Howard has 22 months of sobriety. He expresses confidence that he finally has the tools, encouragement and support he needed to live a life in recovery.

Lifeline Connections is a private, not for profit 501(c)(3) corporation in Vancouver that provides a broad range of treatment services including non-medical detoxification, chemical dependency treatment for adults and adolescents, specialty programs of care for pregnant and parenting women, intervention and prevention for adults and adolescents, mental health treatment, integrated treatment for substance abuse and mental disorders, medication management, case management and urinalysis testing.