By the time Rickey left the shelter last August, he was sober, employed, and had a lease on his own apartment through SVDP’s supportive housing program.
For Rickey, the structure and support he got at SVDP was life-changing. The divorced grandfather quit drinking, and this month celebrates 18 months of sobriety. He had tried to stop drinking many times before, he says, butnever made it more than a few weeks.
Rickey credits his case manager, David Tarullo, with forging his breakthrough. “We became good friends,” he says. Other staff members also encouraged and assisted him. “They just made me feel at home, and they showed me what steps I needed to take. I didn’t get pressured into doing it,” Rickey adds. “They basically said I had to want it. The people at St. Vincent de Paul just seem to go out of their way to help people.”
Rickey is actively involved in Alcoholics Anonymous, attending three meetings during the week and three on the weekends. Before he started his current job last winter, he was attending as many as three meetings per day. “My goal is to keep learning how to read and stay sober,” he says.
One of seven children in a family that moved frequently, Rickeywas a poor student in school. A high school drop-out, he started drinking at age 14. As a result, he never learned to read.“
He has relied on memorization to make out words for the majority of his life,” says Beth White, Rickey’s case manager in SVDP’s supportive housing program. “He is learning to readand has even started working on his GED.“Rickey has a very warm spirit,” she adds, “and he is so very thankful for our program and for everyone who is in his life.”