A Grateful Client-Turned-Employee Shares His Story


Can you imagine living in a tent in someone’s backyard? Struggling with substance use for decades? Watching addiction destroy the lives of your loved ones? Can you imagine feeling so hopeless that going back to jail or committing suicide seemed like your only options?

Clients like Jeff don’t have to imagine such desperate circumstances.

In 2017, Jeff was considering these bleak options when he checked himself into a local hospital. He wasn’t sure he wanted to be sober but he wanted to do something different. His nurse connected him with a SouthLight counselor who met with him in person at the hospital.

“I didn’t know what was going to happen, and I was still scared.”

Through SouthLight, Jeff joined a counseling group that included others who struggled with substance abuse. He attended three times per week, and learned coping skills, communication skills, and listening skills. Jeff also moved into a sober living house. Recognizing Jeff’s commitment to recovery, SouthLight paid his rent for three months. Even though he had started a new job, Jeff says it took a lot of stress off his plate to know he had help with rent.  

“Service is a huge part of my recovery.”

In time, SouthLight became a second home for Jeff. Long after his counseling groups ended, Jeff continued to visit staff and clients at the treatment center. Recognizing Jeff’s talent for connecting with people in early recovery, SouthLight recruited him as a Peer Support Specialist to work with new clients who had just entered treatment.

“I would show our clients how to get resources. I would take them to food banks. I would show them where meetings were,” Jeff recalls. “I was the guy to call if they had any questions. I was the welcome wagon.”  

Five years later, the skills Jeff learned at SouthLight have helped him become a better husband to his wife, a reliable father to his two-and-a-half-year-old son, a responsible business owner, and an inspiration for people seeking a new way of life. When he describes his life, the word he uses most frequently is “grateful”. You can truly feel the gratitude when he talks about SouthLight.  

“Without SouthLight, I don’t even know if I’d be here.”

Jeff F., former SouthLight client and employee

Support clients like Jeff who found recovery—and hope—at SouthLight.

Your investment in SouthLight will ensure substance use and mental health services are available to people in need, regardless of their ability to pay.