Jerry had a happy childhood growing up in Sanford, North Carolina in the 1960s. His father worked in lumber, then became a Marine. His mother was a homemaker who made sure he and his seven siblings went to church. 

When he was 14, Jerry’s mother passed away.

“My whole world was turned upside down, and I couldn’t find an answer,” shares Jerry. “I thought the answer was in drugs.” He drank alcohol and smoked marijuana to cope. He graduated from high school and worked at a lumber company, then married and had two daughters. All the while, his addiction worsened. “Life got out of control in a hurry,” he said. 

Jerry was in and out of prison throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. His sister finally convinced him to seek help and told him about TROSA. Jerry knew he wanted a different life for himself, especially after his brother died of alcoholism at age 36; but at first, Jerry wasn’t sure he needed a long-term program like TROSA. 

“I still didn’t understand why I had to come to TROSA. In the back of your mind, [you think] you can fight this thing on your own,” said Jerry. “But coming to TROSA in June of 2005 was the best decision I ever made in my life.”

TROSA provided Jerry with free housing, meals, clothing, vocational training, counseling, educational  opportunities, and health care. Jerry got new glasses for free and he received dental care to give him a new smile, because he had neglected his oral hygiene during his years in addiction. Most importantly, Jerry regained his self-esteem and a sense of passion for life.

“I learned from the program that you can be the person that you’ve dreamed of being,” said Jerry. “TROSA has taught me the value of life all over again.”

Jerry graduated from TROSA’s program in 2007. He decided to stay on as a “post-graduate,” which allows him to stay at TROSA beyond the two years and continue contributing to the community. Today, he still receives TROSA’s comprehensive services as a program participant and is a coordinator in the TROSA Men’s Program, organizing outings and mentoring younger TROSA residents.

“I’m just happy today. When I smile, I’m smiling for a reason,” said Jerry. “I have my life back.”