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Jeff’s Story – Finding recovery and employment, with Avivo’s help

Growing up on what he calls “the mean streets of Chicago,” Jeff wanted to get off the streets and away from gang violence; he wanted a better life for himself.

“I wanted a future. I wanted a life,” he says. “I wanted something better for myself than the streets.”

“I wanted a future. I wanted a life … I wanted something better for myself than the streets.”

Jeff was successful initially in steering his life toward positive outcomes. He found a job and kept his life stable, until he started slipping into old habits.

“You can’t take the hood out of yourself unless you change yourself,” Jeff says. “No matter where you go.”

It took major hardship for Jeff to take the first steps to really changing himself. He’d become homeless, and his spirit was nearly broken, when he walked up to Avivo for a chemical health assessment.

“That was the first step in straightening myself out,” says Jeff. “I lived in Avivo housing [while in treatment]. It was my first step toward independence.”

While in recovery at Avivo, Jeff took advantage of additional services Avivo offered. He joined Avivo’s participant committee, which advocates on behalf of Avivo’s program participants. And he started working with Avivo’s career navigators to get ready for a future job hunt.

“I’ve come a long way, and still have so far to go,” says Jeff. “I’m trying to go to school next year for addiction counseling.”

“[My career navigator] helped me create my resume and helped me put it on Indeed.com,” says Jeff.

Jeff found employment with a political campaign as a canvasser, and he was quickly promoted to field manager.

Since then, he’s graduated from Avivo’s treatment programs and has found full-time employment – working at a county treatment facility.

“I’ve come a long way, and still have so far to go,” says Jeff. “I’m trying to go to school next year for addiction counseling.”

Jeff wants to give back to those who helped him. One way he’s found is by sharing his own experience, including successes and failures. “I want to share my experience to help people out,” says Jeff. “To let them know that if I can come out of the depths of hell and find a way out, to find direction in life, that anyone can do it.”

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