Happy Saturday! Hopefully you have survived the unbearable heat that has embraced the Jersey Shore over the last several days. Now, it is time to enjoy the weekend (despite the shoobies).
Lately I have been thinking about my life’s journey once I entered recovery in 1990. I am not exactly sure why all of those memories have been flooding back except that it was a time of growth, trials, tears and a unbreakable faith in my Higher Power that everything was going to be okay. Maybe that is the lesson for me – trust and believe!
In the beginning at South Jersey AIDS Alliance, I was a volunteer looking to do community service and get on with my life. I wasn’t looking for a job (though I was on unemployment) especially one in the non-profit world. What I found changed my life. The first few months with SJAA, we were working on World AIDS Day – December 1st. I sat in the office doing anything and everything to help out. Meeting people who arrived at our doors battered, bruised and seeking acceptance. Their addiction and bad choices had left them with an incurable disease that would ultimately lead to their death. What I found was a caring, loving group of men and women who accepted me with all of my faults for who I was for I was blessed not to have suffered the same results of my back choices. When a job became available in the Cumberland County office of SJAA, I was encouraged by Dave Schall (the Case Manager) to apply. To say the least, I was not their first choice. I mean what did I know about social work other than being a volunteer. The Board President at the time, Bob Rougeau, didn’t think I could handle the job – I had only been clean for about 9 months. For those of you who know Bridgeton, Cumberland County – it is not exactly the best place to plop an addict with a little bit of clean time. Thankfully, Matt McCrossen (a client and an HIV/AIDS advocate) along with other staff helped me secure that position. Instead of relapsing, the could be results of my addiction were kept fresh for me – I dealt with heroin addicts, homeless, moms, kids and anyone else who walked through our doors. The clients would come to call the little house (our office) on Irving Avenue HOPE’S HOUSE. No it wasn’t the official title but it was a way for clients to share their HIV/AIDS status without actually saying the words. It was a safe haven.
I know, you are wondering what yet ANOTHER personal story has to do with being successful in business, right? The SJAA office was a safe zone for those who were struggling while my safe zone was my faith even when I didn’t know it. A strange statement – having faith and not knowing it, right? I trusted that my Higher Power would take care of me while I was on the rough streets of Bridgeton. I trusted that my Higher Power would protect me when I entered a new client’s home for the first time. I believed that anyone who truly wanted to change their bad behaviors could.
So, as life tosses me some challenges, when everything is not perfect – I need to go back to a time when I trusted in my Higher Power. Are you struggling today with a personal or professional problem? Do you think there is no light at the end of the tunnel? STOP! There is a plan for each of us regardless of your beliefs, we just have to trust and BELIEVE.
Have a ThirtyOne-derful day.