Justin—from Hickory, North Carolina—started battling addiction when he was 18. His drug use began with smoking marijuana and escalated to an addiction to crack cocaine and heroin.

He tried to seek help. He was in and out of nine different rehab programs, each time falling back into the cycle of addiction.

At 29, Justin was arrested for breaking and entering. He was put on probation, but six months later he failed a drug test. Justin’s probation officer enrolled him in an outpatient treatment program, but it wasn’t working. His probation officer found TROSA—a multiyear residential recovery program for men and women with substance use disorders. Justin realized that he needed long-term treatment to help him overcome his addiction and the behaviors that came with it.

“I was very untrustworthy before I came here,” said Justin. That has changed since coming to TROSA, where Justin is now a reliable member of the community.

All TROSA residents participate in community assignments, which provide a meaningful way for residents to put new life skills into daily practice and help residents make connections to others. They also provide valuable vocational training. In his community assignment, Justin oversaw purchasing and managed inventory for TROSA’s kitchen, which serves an average of more than 1,400 meals per day to nearly 500 residents. Through this role, Justin has learned how to use tools such as Microsoft Excel and how to conduct an internal audit, skills that would be beneficial to any career path that he takes.

In addition to his vocational training achievements, Justin is proud to have earned his GED in 2018, a long-time aspiration of his. All TROSA residents without a high school diploma or GED are required to take GED prep courses and are encouraged to pursue their GED free of charge, with any related fees covered in full by TROSA. “Earning my GED was my biggest goal. I’m proud to have set out to do something and actually finish,” said Justin. Justin also received his driver’s license while at TROSA, which he hadn’t had for nearly 13 years. These accomplishments are evidence of Justin’s personal growth since coming to the program.

“I was surprised by how much fun I could have in recovery,” said Justin.“I was living my life with addiction for so long that I thought there was no other way to live.” Justin’s new outlook on life hasn’t gone unnoticed. In addition to achieving personal goals, Justin has enjoyed a renewed relationship with his family. “One of the best parts of my recovery is that I’ve gained my family back. When I visit home in Hickory, my dad gives me the keys to the house. He gives me his debit card to go buy groceries without worrying. He hadn’t trusted me like that for a long time,” said Justin.

Justin is a proud 2018 TROSA graduate.

“Staying at TROSA kept me gounded,” said Justin.“It’s where I need to be.” Justin is thankful for the opportunities he has been given at TROSA and looks forward to a fulfilling life in recovery.