Real Talk, Real Life with Edward Cucuzza
“I’m not sure where to start this, I guess first I have to say that I am 44 years old and pretty much have always done the wrong thing. Well maybe not always, but more times than not. I’ve had a drug addiction and a “me first” problem my whole life, 4 months ago I would have honestly never been able to say that.
I’ve lied, cheated and stole to be able to fuel my habits and addictions. I’ve alienated family, friends and business associates. I’ve been selfish my whole life for all the wrong reasons.
Because of my selfishness everyone in my life has suffered, especially the ones I care most about. With all this being said, I walked through the door of Safe Harbor on a cold night in December after having lost my job and my place to live. I spent the last money I had on my drug choice rather than another few nights in a motel. I drove around all day wondering what I was going to do. I guess in a moment of clarity I thought to myself “I can’t keep doing this anymore!. I walked through the door and didn’t know what to expect. I’ve never tried treatment before because I always thought I could do it on my own, how wrong I was!
Clint was the first person I met here. He took the time to listen to me and how desperate I was for help. I literally said “I GIVE UP! I DON’T KNOW WHAT ELSE TO DO!”. After a few days of getting adjusted here & my mind clearing up a little bit I started attending the classes here. I wasn’t sure what Faith Based Recovery was, but having failed at doing things “my way” all my life, I kept an open mind and I’m so very glad I did.
My second Saturday here Jesus touched me. Minister Mac comes on Saturday evenings for our 6 pm class. Jesus used him to talk to me and I accepted Jesus into my life. It’s made all the difference for me! For so long I was so afraid of believing in something other than myself. Since being here I realized that if you let God into your life and you truly believe in your heart in Him, His grace and mercy, that nothing is impossible.
I’m truly grateful for Safe Harbor and all of the things they have done for me. I have a warm, safe place to be, I have food, I have a job, I have a ride to and from that job. I have a staff that supports me and cares about my recovery! I found a church home at Christ the Healer that Minister Mac introduced me to. Miss Margy found me a job at AHC Hardwood that I truly enjoy. Miss G has been super supportive to my attending AA meetings, which led me to find a sponsor with whom I’ve connected with, and am working the steps in the program. Clint is always there for me to talk to when I need it. Bob is a great listener as well. Chaplain Mike, from the first time I spoke to him, could see that I am willing to turn my life over to the care of God. I am truly blessed to be where I am today and I know it wouldn’t have been possible without the love and support I get from everyone here at Safe Harbor.
I pray that God continues to work in me and for me. Without this program I may have never received any of these blessings, and again I am truly grateful for what I have in my life now and the miracles that are happening for me.”
We had one of our own students here in Clarksville achieve a milestone on today. Over the last few month Mike worked hard at paying of his fines. Today he got his Driver License back we are so proud of this accomplishment and celebrating with him.
My name is Gary Smith and I would like to tell you a little about myself.
I grew up in a little town in California with two of the best parents anyone could have. We didn’t have everything we wanted, but we did have everything we needed. I started smoking weed in the 7th grade. I didn’t smoke a lot because as I stated my mom and dad knew where I was always, but it did open the door to destructive behavior. When I began high school, I started using cocaine like some sort of status that I was a cool kid. Then in my senior year in high school I was introduced to Methamphetamines at a party. I went from a good student to a 24hour a day meth addict almost overnight. This would last for the next 25 years of my life. I would steal from where ever and whomever would supply my next gram. I would break into stores and steal from my aunts and uncles, even my good mother and father, until I was finally caught and went to prison. My mother and father both passed away while I was incarcerated, and me in prison is the memory they left this earth with.
I tried to get clean many times and the guilt and pain of what I had become would send me into a relapse. Then one day I was about to be released and was coming up for parole once again. Being I really had nowhere to go, that a parole board would approve, I was introduced to a place called Safe Harbor. I wanted to go someplace safe. I know this was God interceding in my life, and we proceeded to fill out the application for my parole plan. December 1, 2016 began a new chapter in my life. Since I have been here I have regained my self-worth, and more importantly my relationship with Jesus Christ. With God back in my life I have gotten things back I thought were gone forever, like my baby girl Taylor, whom I hadn’t talk to in 13 years. Now she is in my life again and even says she loves me, which fills an incredible void that had been there for many years.
My trip back into the light has not been easy, but it has been worth it with the help of the staff here at Safe Harbor. Those late-night talks when I wanted to get high let me hear God when I wasn’t in my right mind. Today I see that all is not lost and the vision of Safe Harbor is at work within me and I will never forget what it did, and is doing for me today.
Safe Harbor has been a wonderful, life changing experience for me. There are obvious reasons, like getting me out of jail and giving me a second chance. They have provided me with a job and taught me the skills needed to be a hard working, productive member of society. But by far the best part about being here is bringing me back close to God. I’ve found a church that I absolutely love with a pastor who has become not just a friend, but a personal mentor. Praise God for Safe Harbor!
“It’s been a wonderful program and has really put me back on track. I’m 35 years old, I have been an addict for 20 years and this program has provided me with the tools I need to live the rest of my life clean & sober. It has also put me back to work, put me back in touch with my family and continues blessing me everyday. Through Safe Harbor I have discovered God and who He is.
May 1, 2016 – Van White Graduation
Van White came to us in September of 2015. Before coming to Safe Harbor “I abused alcohol a lot and I was living in darkness and staying on the streets.” He heard about the program and decided to “come and give it a shot.” After White had tried everything else on his own without success, he realized he needed help and finally wanted help – he states, “I wanted to change my life. Safe Harbor has helped open my eyes and realize that I can live a prosperous life without addiction. If you put God first in your life, pray a lot, and never mind what you did before – you can be happy again. What counts is now and not what I did in the past.” While participating in Safe Harbor’s program, White has been employed full-time at Grupo Antolin, one of our faithful corporate partners, a position he will be able to maintain after he leaves our care. He has been sober for over 8 months now and focuses each day on the goals he has set for himself. He has been saving for a car, budgeting for housing, and building a relationship with his son that they have not been able to have before. White graduated on May 1, 2016 and will leave our program at the end of the month when he is ready.
Chaplain Mike Williams talking to some of the students about graduating student – Timothy Garner. Timothy graduated from the program on and has begun working by our FaithWorks operation to become a part of their work force. The program and this transition has enable him to financially prepare to successfully re-enter the community. He has obtained housing for his family, he is back with his, and now he will be an employee at Electrolux through FaithWorks.
Timothy Addressing the men about how to be successful in the Program.
March 8, 2016
“I came into the program on a Monday in February 2016. When I had woke up that morning, and the only words that came to my mind is that I need help. They explained how the program worked over the phone and I was interested. When I got here I was treated like family, I saw it as a long lost cousin coming to a family reunion. I arrived a little after lunch, and they still had a plate waiting for me. They showed me around building and the last place they showed me is where I was going to sleep. It took me a few days to adjust to the people, because the first 2 days I was here I was coming off a drug binge. My thought about is the program is you get what you put into it. The program is here for you. This program is helping me learn more about myself and helping me get back on track with every day routines. My suggestion to anyone who thinks about coming – if you can take time to get high, you can take time to get your life straight.” – participant, Ricky Pamblanco
March 8, 2016
“I got to the mission Feb 18, 2016, I walked from a hotel in the area, When I got here I was treated very well. I had pretty much hit rock bottom, lost everything I had, except my faith in God. My adjustment is going very well, I’m learning about the Scripture Proverbs 3:5-6, not to lean to my own ways. I plan on really committing to all the program guideline. I’m also beginning to realize that I must slow and take it one day at a time. This is a great program, if I had a much money as Bill Gates, and I had to give it up for what this program has done in my life, I would in a heartbeat. It has truly change me and rebuilt bridges I once burn- that number one bridge being that one to God. I thank God for the leaders in this program, and hope and pray that God continues to bless them and their family in a mighty way.” – participant, Thomas Meyers
Tillman Harrington never had a dependency to drugs or alcohol, but like so many that come into our program he was jobless and homeless. Without a high school degree, finding a place to work was extremely difficult for him. In September of 2013, he was accepted into Safe Harbor and has made a great effort since then to plan how to improve his situation. The program has helped him to manage his time and prepare goals to accomplish. Now, he challenges himself to achieve every plan he envisions. Harrington works within Safe Harbor’s Back-to-Work program and studies twice a week with a tutor in preparation to complete his test for General Education Development (GED). He was awarded a grant through the Adult Literacy Program of Clarksville that will cover the cost of his testing. He would like to send a special “thank you” to his tutor, Mr. Smith. In the near future, Tillman would like to receive his Certificate of High School Equivalency and continue to further his education by attending college. He is interested in a career where he will be able to help others. Harrington is hoping to graduate from our program sometime in August.