From the Sidewalk to Sobriety
Peter grew up in a small town in upstate New York. A friend of his moved to Las Vegas, NV, and he decided to move west. He wore out his welcome at his friend’s house and became homeless. Peter was living behind the Golden Nugget Casino on Freemont Street when he met a man from Catholic Family Services who offered to take him to Los Angeles. The man said there were more resources to help people experiencing homelessness there.
When he arrived in LA, Peter stayed at the Weingart Center for two weeks; then, he was back out on the streets. He stayed on either Pico Boulevard or 6th Street. Peter sat on the sidewalk across the street from The Midnight Mission every day, watching people go in and get help. He knew he could find help in the programs at TMM, but he knew he would have to stop drinking. But, he was scared and wasn’t ready to stop. He even stayed in TMM’s Safe Sleep in our courtyard for a few nights. For six months, he sat watching until one cold and rainy winter day; he was ready to get sober and change his life.
Peter talked to a woman at the front desk, and she told him to come back at 5 am the following day, and there would be an open bed for him. Peter summoned all the courage he had to come back and wait on the bench in the courtyard to begin his new life. He jumped into the Recovery Program, getting a job in the warehouse and helping on the loading dock.
Peter fondly remembers attending many recovery meetings and spending weekends playing softball in Clancy’s backyard. He made many connections and learned a lot about how to live a sober life. Despite finding a new way of life in LA, Peter wanted to move home to NY to show his family how well he was doing.
Peter moved back to NY and did not have the same support he had at TMM. He ended up relapsing but found his way back to recovery. He had never forgotten what he learned while in Los Angeles. Peter celebrated eight years of sobriety in April of 2022. He has a life he never imagined would be possible while living on the streets in LA. Peter has a house to call his own, is married, and has a dog. He works on the Recovery Campus in NY, sharing his experience, strength, and hope with people seeking sobriety. He not only wants to help them, but he is uniquely qualified to do so because he has been there and he knows how they feel.
Peter wanted to offer encouragement to anyone who is thinking about changing their lives. He said not to let fear control you; don’t be afraid to change. He realized the sidewalk was not the last stop in his life; it was just a bridge to a big, beautiful life in recovery.