Continuum of Care, Inc.’s mission is to enable people who are challenged with mental illness, intellectual disability or other disability, and/or addiction, to rebuild a meaningful life and thrive in the community.
I first was connected to Continuum of Care at age 19 while I was incarcerated. I had just been diagnosed with a serious mental illness. I was court stipulated to a program and Continuum of Care’s Crisis and Respite program accepted me. I was not ready for treatment at that point in time, so I was consistently in and out of institutions, jails and the Crisis and Respite program. This cycle lasted until I was age 25.
Back then, I was the type of person who didn’t care about rules and regulations or my own well-being while I was under the influence. I would constantly break rules and use drugs and alcohol while I was in the Crisis and Respite program. Due to my decisions and actions, I was asked to leave the Crisis and Respite program for good because I put residents and staff in danger.
After I left Crisis and Respite, I was homeless for a couple months before I committed a crime and went to jail. I did four months in jail, and then I was sent to a mental institution. While I was there I started to think about my future and the way my life was going. I realized that that environment was not somewhere I wanted to be for the rest of my life.
When I was released, I started going to Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings, and that’s when my life changed. I started my sober living journey on March 22, 2011. Later, I was placed with Continuum’s Brownell Street Program and was told that completing the program would give me the opportunity to receive a housing voucher and employment.
My case manager at Brownell referred me to Continuum’s South Central Peer Services and I was accepted into their internship program. After I finished the internship, I was hired for employment as a Recovery Support Specialist. I started out working one-on-one with a client and I found that I was able to give him what Continuum gave me, a helping hand.
I now work 40 hours and was able to give Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits after one year of steady employment. I also recently completed Recovery University and passed the Certification testing. Today, I celebrate five years of sobriety but I treat each day like it’s my first day. I regularly attend meetings and even went to the Alcoholics Anonymous Conference this past year.
Now, I work hand-in-hand with others being released from incarceration into transitional programs similar to the Brownell Street Program. I am giving back what Continuum so freely gave me all these years. They never gave up on me.
Won’t you consider helping us to help someone -- who pays it forward -- like Romelow?