When you meet Steve, he is the picture of health: strong, fit, younger-looking than his 57 years. He has the kind of smile that lights up a room. And yet for years, Steve has struggled with an addiction that’s been difficult to shake, but it’s also taken him on a journey for which he’s surprisingly grateful.
Steve’s path to addiction started early. At 13, he experimented with marijuana and snuck beer from his family’s refrigerator. By high school, he’d progressed to harder drugs and became addicted. When he couldn’t support his habit, Steve resorted to crime and eventually landed in jail. After prison, he made his way to Spring Grove, a Talbert House re-entry program. “My life came together at Spring Grove,” Steve says. Steve successfully completed the program, got off parole, lived with his family and had a job.
“Talbert House gave me new tools, and I found out I could look at life differently.”
Read Steve's whole story in the 2016 Annual Report.
Heather, a student a Norwood Middle School, initially signed up for Teens Empowering Community Change (TECC) because she knew the job promoted leadership. She and her teammates were asked to identify issues facing Norwood teens and to create an action plan for how to help. By doing so, the club members and their fellow students can build resilience, a crucial skill that can help them bounce back even during tough times. It's a skill some experts believe may be the missing link needed to prevent substance use.
From Heather's perspective, TECC has been a huge success. "We're actually doing some good in the community. My mom is ecstatic that I'm in the program. She knows I'm doing some good."
Read Heather's whole story in the 2016 Annual Report.
Robert had addiction issues coupled with other significant challenges in his life. While visiting family in Cincinnati, Robert made the decision to get into an unknown car containing illegal narcotics and was arrested. He was now on the brink of losing everything with the likelihood he would be sent to prison.
Robert was sentenced to Talbert House for treatment. He successfully completed the ADAPT for Men program, learned the life skills he needed, and now finds great pleasure in saying he is clean and sober and able to make good decisions for himself. In addition to a successful reentry, Robert now is employed by Talbert House as a resident manager at Parkway Apartments. He enjoys his work and is grateful to help others go through a similar journey toward recovery.
"Were it not for Talbert House, I would be living on the street or in prison. I am grateful for the help I received to once again become part of the community."
Chuck was introduced to pain pills at the age of 12, by doctors, to help with his multiple surgeries for a disease that runs in his family. He was lucky to graduate high school before addiction started taking over his life.
At age 18, he had no worries about consequences of abusing prescription pills or getting caught by his mother, so his addiction started taking off. He became chemically dependent and, as pain killers were hard to find, was introduced to heroin at the age of 24. By 26 he started injecting heroin and was homeless by 29. Chuck was soon after arrested for charges of possession and drug abuse instruments in April 2015.
"I was lucky enough to walk into Judge Burke’s courtroom, accepted into the ADAPT for Men program, and introduced to recovery. I started learning the tools to turn my life around."
Chuck was released from the inpatient program in September 2015 and is continuing his recovery through Talbert House’s outpatient services. He is now proudly employed and advancing his way up through management.
"Thanks to the tools I learned through the Hamilton County Drug Court programs, I now am 17 months clean and my life is continually getting better."
It was 1974 and Jim had just spend a year in the federal prison. The circumstances that led to his incarceration could describe so many other young men in the prison system, both then and now. His father died at an early age, leaving him without any male supervision. Eventually he settled into a life of using and dealing heroin, ultimately leading to his arrest.
After his release from prison, the staff at Talbert House created an environment to help Jim and the other men in the house begin to change their lives.
"I was just getting my head together when I came out of prison, but I didn't have any stability. I didn't really have a home to go to so Talbert House became my home. I could test the water and my freedom there, knowing I always had the safety net of my 'new family' at Talbert House."
After Jim's six-month stay at the halfway house, he left with a commitment to living differently. He started a new career as an executive recruiter and, even while still on federal parole, gained custody of his four-year-old daughter. He was determined to not let himself, his daughter, and the courts down. Now he has a successful business and a growing family.
"If I hadn't had that halfway house, I think I would have gone back to drugs and I'd be back in prison."
Antoin came to the Talbert House Fatherhood Project in July 2007 and enrolled in the Nurturing Fathers class. He wanted to learn how to become a great father for his son and newborn daughter.
Antoin gained parenting skills and learned about child development. The program has also assisted him in obtaining permanent housing and employment. Through classes and support, he worked to strengthen his relationship with his children and establish visitation with his daughter.
When he learned that his daughter and her mother were moving out of state, he received help from Talbert House Legal Services to set up visitation rights through a Distance Agreement. When he continued to encounter issues with cancelled visits, Antoin worked with legal services along with his fatherhood coach.
In 2011, Antoin was awarded full custody of his daughter. He maintains a strong, nurturing and loving relationship with both his daughter and son. "I promised my children, they would always know that I am there for them and in turn, they are teaching me more than I am supposed to teach them...I'm still growing" says Antoin.
Antoin was recently honored, along with Honorable John J. Gilligan and Honorable Nathaniel R. Jones, as Father of the Year at the 4th Annual Fatherhood Celebration Luncheon.