What matters Most to Me: Being Trusted Again
I realized how numb I had become to the holiday season after so many years of my family not wanting me around for the holidays.
“Thanks, SouthLight from me Raul Fernandez for letting me be who I am today.”
These are the heartfelt words from Raul, marine-turned Peer Support Specialists after years of struggling with addiction.
Raul shared a recent experience when he was helping a client at a rehab center and ended up in tears…tears of joy and gratitude. Tears from finally knowing what it feels like to be trusted.
I was driving last night on my way to see a client and when I got there, police were at the entrance of the Rehab facility I was going to. When I asked the officer if I could go in, the officer asked me what I wanted to go in for?
I was so proud that the officers there knew about SouthLight and let me in, like I was welcomed and doing something special.
I told him I was from SouthLight. I was so proud that the officers there knew about SouthLight and let me in, like I was welcomed and doing something special. When I pulled into the parking lot, all of a sudden I started to cry. I realized how numb I had become to the holiday season after so many years of my family not wanting me around for the holidays.
I thought I was strong and just ignored it; I took it like a man and moved on during the holidays.
It got to the point that to me every day was the same whether it was a holiday or not.
I just moved on to the next thing. I have a good woman in my life and take care of my mom who is disabled, so us three spend the holidays alone. We all got use to this.
Two things happen to me last night that made me cry like a baby. The first is that I realized how I no longer shake and am not afraid of the police.
The first is that I realized how I no longer shake and am not afraid of the police. For years, if I heard sirens or saw police car, I would shake whether I was doing something wrong or not. I realized how now I am respected by the police and the community I serve because of SouthLight and how they believe in me and what SouthLight stands for.
The second reason I cried was that I realized that I might not have too many blood family members in my life, but now SouthLight is my family. I have never ever been a bad person but during my addiction, I had lost the Marine I use to be along with my pride. I lost people’s trust in me and I do not blame them but me.
Working for SouthLight has given me back more than I deserve. I now walk around with my head up like I use to always be.
The fact that I now have people’s lives in my hand doing what I do and sharing my experiences with them, I would go thru hell again if I knew I would become a Certified Peer Support Specialist and work for SouthLight.
Every day I wake up and have the trust in me from everyone at SouthLight and my clients is still a shock to me. I treasure this more than anything in my life. I can’t describe it, but it’s the best feeling in the world to have that trust in me from SouthLight and others again.
I just want to let you know that I appreciate being at SouthLight every day I wake up and feel like I do. I had forgotten what that felt like.
Thanks, SouthLight from me Raul Fernandez for letting me be who I am today.
Learn more about our Peer Support Services and how people like Raul who walk alongside of you on your recovery journey. Learn more about SouthLight’s mental health and substance use services here.
About SouthLight Healthcare:
Founded in 1970, SouthLight Healthcare is one of the area’s largest nonprofit providers of substance use treatment and mental health services. SouthLight partners with individuals and communities to provide innovative treatment solutions delivered with compassion and dignity. With outpatient and community-based programs, SouthLight provides prevention, education, and treatment services in the Triangle and beyond. Call 919-787-6131 for help or more information or visit www.southlight.org.