Telling Frank's Story
The first thing that impresses me when I meet Frank is how sincere he is—and, how happy he is to have changed his life as it could have ended very differently. He begins over eight years ago when he says, “I had a very unstable living situation. I was using substances at the time. That was the time I hurt myself, I tried killing myself and was just at a low, low point in my life.” He’s been sober a little over three years now, so his journey has been long and arduous.
Frank was working as a registered nurse, but was unable to keep it all together. “In 1996 I went to school to be a nurse and graduated very high in my class. I was working at a nursing home, but was experiencing psychiatric symptoms. I was seeing things, and had paranoia. My job ended when I left at lunch to go get drugs and never came back to work.” He lost his career, his home, and was court ordered to come to services at Community Care Alliance, which was NRI Community Services at the time.
“I came here about eight years ago. I saw Amy Skurka first, who did my Intake. I always remember her because she was so helpful. I was using heroin, crack, alcohol.” At that time, Frank started seeing one of our psychiatrists who prescribed Suboxone.
He speaks with great respect for all the people at CCA who have helped him, naming each and every one—not wanting to miss anyone. The turning point for Frank, however, was his stay at Wilson House about four years ago. He had one brief relapse since then, but now is committed to his sobriety.
“Right now, I’m balancing a lot of things, which is amazing because I was all over the place before. I was homeless at points, not following through with my meds. Using on and off… more on than off.”
“Jess Shannon was my caseworker for a long time. That helped because I needed some consistency in my life. She helped me a lot. I was getting help, but I wasn’t really ready to receive it. About four years ago, my girlfriend died as a direct result of heroin use, and then her brother died in a car accident. It was one of the lowest points I had been in in a long time. I was in and out of the hospital three times and had been at the Acute Stablization Unit (ASU). When I was at the ASU someone suggested that I go to Wilson House, and I didn’t really want to go, but I did.
From Wilson House I went to Jackson House [CCA sober house] where I had a relapse. I ended up getting kicked out of the sober house. But, my relapse was brief, and it was a good thing because I became more solid in my sobriety. I really want to do this. I started going to more groups… I attended Sally’s group and a medication assisted therapy group. Sally’s group has always helped me. Kelly’s group, Josh’s group. Even at my lowest points, this place helped me; it held me together till I could get to the point where I wanted help.
Frank went back to school right after his stay at Jackson House. “I really decided that I wanted to be sober, and I never wanted to be on disability. I feel really stable. I’m engaged now.
Frank says he isn’t interested in his nursing career anymore and is currently studying computer engineering at CCRI. He becomes animated when talking about his new career path. “I’m doing an internship at a place in Peacedale, and I LOVE it there. People are so great to work with there. They are so friendly and everyone gets along. And everyone is so helpful there, it’s amazing.” When I mention that it would be great to turn that internship into a permanent opportunity, he says, “I pray, I hope that I could. That would be so wonderful.” So far he has all A’s and one semester left in the spring, and is thinking of transferring credits to a four-year program from there. He is also engaged to be married.
When asked about where he sees himself in the future, Frank say, “Wherever God brings me. Hopefully everything will come together. I’ll get a job in programming. We’ll get married in May.”
—Colleen Joubert, Director of Communications & Development