You can find TROSA graduate Richard helping out just about anywhere he can on TROSA’s campus. “You will definitely find me here and there and everywhere! I’m a big advocate of helping people,” he shares. Richard has played a helpful role during our COVID-19 campus response, assisting at our campus booster vaccine clinic and helping fellow residents stay connected to each other and focused on their recovery.
Richard graduated from TROSA’s two-year residential treatment program in 2021 and applied to extend his program while pursuing his education goals at neighboring Durham Technical Community College. TROSA graduates who stay beyond their two-year program to finish their education goals are known as “TROSA Scholars.” As a TROSA Scholar, Richard participates in daily therapeutic activities and community assignments at TROSA and takes college classes at Durham Tech–all while serving as an active mentor and leader to others on our TROSA campus.
Richard enjoys sharing his own journey with residents. After years in addiction and in prison, Richard was given an opportunity to work for a nonprofit, where he helped with community outreach. “But I didn’t appreciate the things I had then,” he shares. “I was always chasing something.”
His addiction continued, until one day Richard made the decision to change his life. After researching treatment programs, he chose TROSA. “When I was researching treatment places, TROSA stood out for me, and not just because it was cost-free treatment. I was drawn to TROSA because I recognized that it could give me the opportunity to learn new things and to ‘rebrand’ myself. I am an enriched person because of TROSA. I can’t stop talking about this place and all that I have gained…all that I have now and all that TROSA has given me.”
When asked what he is most proud of gaining in recovery, Richard responds: “Acquiring patience. I’m a fast-paced individual and I truly and honestly appreciate the patience I’ve gained at TROSA. I also newly appreciate what it means to earn the things that I want. Were it not for TROSA, I would still be chasing after something.” Richard is also proud of earning his GED and his Peer Support Specialist certification while at TROSA.
All TROSA residents participate in community assignments that serve as a safe space to practice new behaviors and learn new vocational and life skills. Richard’s community assignment is with the TROSA Men’s Program Office. He enjoys assisting with a wide variety of program activities, with a special focus on TROSA’s newest residents. Richard helps our new residents acclimate to the residential program.
“I enjoy being a resource,” shares Richard. “I love helping others figure out that the answers to their questions are something they already have; it’s just a matter of bringing that out in them.”
Richard makes it his goal to connect with residents. “No matter what someone’s motivation is for being at TROSA, I help them figure out how to make the most of their time in the program. TROSA offers you every opportunity to change your life…it’s important to identify why you are here so you can use the resources at TROSA and make it most meaningful for you.”
As a mentor to many, it is no surprise that Richard’s professional goal is to work in the helping professions. “I am gravitating towards social work as a career. I feel most successful when I’m faced with a challenge to help someone; and then we can solve it. I never finished school before TROSA. Getting my education, now that I’m in recovery, made me realize that my education is my passport to a better way of life. Now, I’m enrolled in college. I’m going to get my Associates, then my Bachelors, and then I’m determined to get my PhD.”
Reflecting on his experiences and goals, Richard shares that TROSA’s services and program structure gave him the opportunity to realize a better life for himself. And now, he is helping others. “I decided that living the way I used to live was not going to help me reach my goals. TROSA is providing me with the tools, experiences, and teachings to help me accomplish that…this is just the beginning!”