Vincent’s Story

Vincent successfully completed Avivo’s treatment programs, and now he gives back whenever he can. Every morning he makes and serves coffee to Avivo participants headed to group recovery classes.

He was very young when he experienced the first traumatic event in his life. It ultimately led to a battle with addiction. “People started passing away,” says Vincent. “I wound up losing my mother, my auntie … I lost two uncles, a cousin.”

That sequence of loss led to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which remained undiagnosed for years. To cope, he started to self-medicate using illegal substances, which ultimately led to his incarceration.

“I gave myself a chance … The dual diagnosis from Avivo was extremely important for me.”

Vincent was released from prison to Avivo’s treatment programs, where an assessment revealed a dual diagnosis of addiction and PTSD. It was eye-opening for him, and ultimately led him to choose the substance-free life he lives now.

“I gave myself a chance,” he says. “The dual diagnosis from Avivo was extremely important for me. I didn’t even know at the time how important, until I saw how I was coping with trauma using outside substances.”

When Vincent hit one year of sobriety, it was a major achievement for him. He’d stayed connected to Avivo staff for continued support, and felt the need to give back through volunteering; he wanted to help people in similar situations to his.

“It’s been one big circle, everybody helping each other … I’m glad to be part of that.”

“I talk to people on an individual basis all the time,” says Vincent. “They come and ask me ‘How did you get through this?’”

Vincent answers questions from his peers while serving them a warm cup of coffee. He hopes to turn his ability to relate to peers into a career. Starting next month, Vincent will be an intern at Nuway treatment facility as a recovery coach.

“It’s been one big circle, everybody helping each other,” says Vincent. “I’m glad to be part of that.”