Stories of Hope - Billy

Billy grew up feeling different, like he really never fit in anywhere. Both his parents were alcoholic and he suffered some pretty traumatic abuse at the hands of his mom so he didn't feel safe talking to his parents. He started drinking at 8 years old but still managed to complete most of high school finishing with a GED. He was employed as an auto mechanic for many years, always able to get a job and support himself. In his late 20's he experienced his first episode and was diagnosed with ADHD and Bi-polar disorder ending up in Kaiser CDRP to address his alcoholism. Things went well for a while-he was on the right meds, quit drinking and returned to work. He continued to struggle with his drinking but managed to remain employed and was married for nearly 10 years. But over the years the drinking always got him in trouble. Multiple DUI's landed him in prison twice. At one point he was moving up at his company and had recently been promoted to shop foremen when he failed to show up for work on the day he was supposed to open a new shop. Looking back, he feels he sabotaged himself every time things were going well because he didn't feel worthy of success. Billy's life continued to spiral down. His marriage failed, he engaged in a drunken fight in which he lost an eye. At this point he pretty much lost everything-job, car, and girlfriend. Homeless and couch-surfing when friends would let him stay; he escalated his substance use to a combination of meth and alcohol to self-medicate his extreme anxiety and depression. 9 years ago, after fighting with his best friend, he realized that he was in trouble. He checked himself into the Sacramento County Mental Health Treatment Center. From there he was on a path towards recovery. The path has not always been straight and he still struggles, but today Billy is a Peer Mentor at the TLCS Clubhouse. He has this to say about his experience: "Basically I used to isolate all the time. I was afraid to go out and be around people. Being on the Volunteer Committee and the Hope Line, and now a mentor at the Clubhouse, I'm not like that anymore. It has let me be myself around people because I feel like 'that's MY place.' The people there, it's not just us helping them; it's them helping us, too. Opening up and connecting with people, it's something I have never done before." Billy has finally found his place and it has given him the encouragement to set goals. He lives in the TLCS Co-ops and has for more than 7 years. The staff has supported and encouraged him and he is comfortable there. Today he is working on repairing his driving record so he can get a car and his license back. He is actively seeking employment. He hopes to return to the auto industry within a year. His biggest struggle is feeling discouraged and disappointed when he doesn't land the job, but he has a support system around him and real motivation. Billy T. has hope.