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Giving thanks every day

In celebration of our 50th anniversary, each month we will be sharing a story that highlights one of our programs or treatment populations. This month we would like to introduce you Marjorie, a member of our Tinton Avenue supportive housing community who has been a part of Odyssey House for almost four years and is celebrating her fifth year of sobriety.

Supportive housing tenantAlmost four years ago, at the age of 50, Marjorie had a major psychotic breakdown, leading to hospitalization and a diagnosis of schizophrenia. On top of that she was also struggling to maintain a fragile sobriety. For over 30 years, Marjorie had found solace in illegal drugs as a way to cope with her traumatic childhood. Realizing her situation was critical, she knew if she was going to save her life it was now or never. She grabbed hold of that chance.

After several relapses and treatment attempts, Marjorie started on the road to recovery in 2013 when she was admitted to the Odyssey House Harbor, a transitional mental health housing program. During her time at the Harbor, Marjorie improved her physical and mental well-being and began to regain her confidence. She made such progress in following her treatment that she was offered permanent housing at Odyssey House Tinton Avenue the following year.

Since moving into Tinton Avenue in 2014, Marjorie has been a conscientious tenant and neighbor. She handles her responsibilities as a tenant with respect and enthusiasm; participates in group activities; and provides helpful insights to her fellow tenants.

Outgoing and approachable, one of her neighbors describes her as “woman who cares passionately for everyone.” Another adds, “Marjorie is known for being supportive of her neighbors who are struggling with addiction and mental illness and freely lends her time and compassion so we don’t feel alone.”

When asked what she wants to do with her life, Marjorie is clear: she hopes to become a peer counselor and put her experience and professional training to work to the benefit of others who, like her, have struggled against enormous odds to lead independent lives.

In her pursuit to become a peer counselor, Marjorie completed training in overdose prevention and recovery coaching at our outpatient services and established a peer support network at Tinton Avenue.

She’s also made it a priority to continue her journey of recovery. She attends Narcotics Anonymous meetings and is a regular attendee at the Odyssey House-sponsored outpatient recovery network where she participates in therapy sessions, smoking cessation workshops, and yoga classes, and stays involved in her local church.

This year Marjorie achieved something she never thought possible: graduating from the Resource Training Center as a Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor Trainee (CASAC-T).

Living in a secure and safe community surrounded by people who support her recovery is something Marjorie gives thanks for every day.

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