“Not too long ago, I was in such a dark, hopeless place that I saw no way out. I was too scared to live and terrified to die. I was stuck…I wanted, and desperately needed help, but I had way too much pride to ask for it. Which explains why my family found me in a hospital in intensive care, after an overdose. Unconscious, I seized violently for an hour and a half. With no good choices available to help me, the medical professionals made the decision to induce a coma. When my family arrived, they were told to get my affairs in order, because it was very unlikely I was going to survive. No parent should ever have to hear that the daughter they adore will likely be dead at 25.
Obviously, God had other plans. He brought me out of that coma and slowly but surely into a better way of life. After a week in the mental health ward, and intensive breathing treatments, I was alive physically, but mentally–just barely. I still couldn’t decide if I wanted to live or die. As soon as I was able to comprehend anything, my parents and mental health professionals suggested I go to a drug and alcohol abuse treatment center. All I could think about was the possibility of escaping the misery that lived in my head. After exhausting all other options, I found myself at a treatment center in Tennessee. This would be my 10th treatment center, so I wasn’t fearful or apprehensive. I had it figured out; I could put on a smile and slide right through the program until it was my time to transition into a sober living home.
But, for some reason, this time was different. I found myself surrounded by the most amazing, loving, caring people I’ve ever met. I began to open up and found the brick wall I had spent several years building around my heart and soul crumbling. I laughed, I cried, I shared…In that safe place, it was as if I found the courage to cut into my chest, pull out my bloody, bruised, empty, ugly, chemically-battered heart and lay it on the table. The amazing women there—both the professionals and the other residents, all seemed to join together to pick up my heart and nurse it back to health.
Somewhere in the process, something began to happen: I found the “want and the will” to live! When my time at rehab was coming to an end, I was blessed beyond my wildest dreams to be accepted into a program house run by Doors of Hope. In a short four-month period, I reached and surpassed more of my goals and expectations than I have since I graduated high school. Again, caring professionals and concerned house-mates helped me believe in the impossible.
Today I have the best friends ever, renewed relationships with my parents and siblings, a great job, a car, my own apartment, and start college at MTSU in the fall, as I complete my degree and prepare to enter law school. I am forever changed, and will always be thankful. I was a hardcore drug addict/junkie and soon I’ll celebrate a year of clean-time. Now I not only want to live, I want to THRIVE! Thank you to anyone and everyone who had any part in the making of this miracle.” –AK
Project Braveheart profile: Eugene
I recently spent some time talking with Eugene, a Braveheart graduate who had some very insightful things to say about the program. Many graduates face urgent immediate needs of shelter and employment when they’re released. Eugene was fortunate to return to a loving family and his own business. But one of the biggest benefits of Project Braveheart for him was keeping his mind focused:
“No matter who you are, no matter what background you come from, no matter how much money you have — anybody coming from incarceration has to face re-acclimation with family, friends & society. You have to be able to have conversations with the ones you love, and with those people whose circle you don’t need to be in anymore. Doors of Hope gives you not only the tools you need, but the confidence to have those conversations — the blueprint of a plan that gives you the best rate of success moving forward in that situation, with the challenges we’re faced with.”
“Being in confinement like that, all you have is your own thoughts… and you’re worried about what’s going on on the outside, which you have no control over. The only thing you can control is yourself in that moment, how you feel. After awhile, having control over your thoughts becomes difficult. It has to be an exercise that you focus on every day. What Braveheart did for me is to reiterate and confirm the importance of renewing your mind.”
Eugene explained how his incarceration stemmed from trying to help people whom he shouldn’t have allowed into his circle of influence. “Now I have somewhere to point people to, rather than trying to help them myself, and end up in their story,” he said. “I’ve learned to accept my limitations in helping others. I have a different way of looking at things and how they affect my family, so I can focus on being a servant husband and father.”
Eugene also gave a lot of credit to his mentor because inmates so often have nobody on the outside to communicate with. “There’s one person that’s not going to walk away from you, that cares for you regardless of anything you’ve been through. It’s important for those people who want to make a difference in society to support not only Red Cross or cancer research, but also programs like Braveheart because you never know what life you’re going to change or how you’re going to make a difference.”
On behalf of these grateful clients, dozens of others who have benefited from this program, and those on our waiting list, we want to express our gratitude to each of you who participate in funding this initiative. Whether you are a regular monthly contributor, participated in the Big Payback campaign recently, volunteer or contribute in other ways, thank you!
Because of your generosity, we will be able to provide more services to those struggling to build a life after incarceration and/or in recovery from addiction.