by Kris Sexton
One of our volunteers, Nancy Diggs, recently interviewed some of the people who have received help from CityHeart to get their feedback on our program and services. Over the course of the next few weeks, I would like to share their stories. The first one comes from Daryl, a kind and gentle soul, who visits us frequently and has a smile that brightens every day. He agreed to share his story which starts following a rough period in his life, just after he spent time in a behavioral health facility . . .
How did you learn about CityHeart?
“Through my case manager.”
Why did you come to CityHeart….?
“I had just been released from Cincinnati’s summit program. My case manager was with me, and I didn’t have any funds. I didn’t have anything, I was homeless and he called Kris and they said they would give me money [a check to purchase] my birth certificate.”
Were you greeted with kindness…..?
“Yes, I was . . . and then I asked Kris did they have a meeting? I had walked past this church for quite some time and she said ‘Yes, they have AA meetings next door.’ And she told me what time they start and what time to get there, and I’ve been coming ever since.”
So CityHeart was able to help you with what you needed…..Did that work out OK for you then?
Yes, ma’am. I was taken care of very well. I’m very appreciative—to make a long story short, it kind of like saved me from being homeless again. When I got the birth certificate I went on and got my I.D. and I’ve been coming back for coffee every morning. There’s always somebody here to greet you and ask you what you need. And I come back two times for the meeting—I call it working my program. Without (CityHeart) telling me about the AA, I would probably be homeless by now, yes I would, yes I would ‘cause I’m an alcoholic. I’ve got four years in and I’ve been coming to CityHeart and I haven’t had no problems since then . . . and anything I needed like some gloves or a hat to keep me warm, they supplied me with that.
We try to reflect the spirit of Jesus… Do you think we did that?
Yes, I do. I get here earlier in the morning, and there’s always somebody here, and as a matter of fact, I asked them to pray for my health, and I went to the doctor yesterday. I see two different doctors about my arthritis and I was also diagnosed as a paranoid-schizophrenic, and the good Lord – and I asked Kris if she would pray for me, and I had no high blood pressure, no high cholesterol, and I’m going to try to stop smoking. I keep coming back!
I think if they didn’t have a spiritual (component to the) program that it would defeat the whole purpose. A guy came into the meeting—he had to be about 79 or 80 years old and didn’t nobody catch on, but I did, and he said the whole point of Alcoholics Anonymous is that it leads you back to God. I seen people come in here that they (CityHeart) helped and they didn’t have no place left to go. One guy I know was a little bit out of it—and I asked prayers for him, and I seen a spiritual improvement with him.”
What impressed you most…? “The hospitality.”
Would you feel welcome to return…? “Anytime, yes, ma’am.
Any other comments…? “Keep the program going, keep it going.”
Final Note: The AA Meeting takes place across the hall from the CityHeart office each weekday at noon. CityHeart closes for lunch and leaves the area to respect the anonymity of those we don’t already know. When CityHeart staff returns to our offices after lunch each day, we often hear the final moments of the AA meeting, the recital of The Lord’s Prayer followed by the mantra, “Keep coming back, it works, if you work it! God bless Daryl for “working it” now for four years!