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Our Recovery Community Members:
Our Stories Have Power!

In a city as diverse and vibrant as Chicago, the struggle against substance use disorders (SUD) is an ongoing battle that affects a significant portion of the population, especially African Americans, Hispanics, and Latinos. SUD doesn't discriminate—it touches lives across all demographics, neighborhoods, and backgrounds. CRCC recognizes this challenge and has initiated a powerful campaign aimed at sharing recovery stories and resources to foster hope and resilience in the face of addiction. 

This initiative revolves around collecting and featuring recovery stories from individuals with diverse backgrounds. By amplifying the voices of African Americans, Hispanics, and Latinos in SUD recovery, the campaign aims to inspire others who may be struggling with addiction. These stories will be shared as part of a campaign alongside crucial resources. Please help us squash stigma and inspire hope by sharing your recovery story. 



Sober since 2008

"For my recovery, I pray to my high power, stay connected, and got a sponsor make. Today, I've been in 15 yrs,10 months and 9 days.



Sober since 2018


"I've been in recovery since 2018 and I pray, meditate to higher power, and support others in recovery.  At my lowest point, I was reduced down to the animalistic level. God's grace and mercy brought me out."



Sober since 1989

I've been in recovery since 1989, but I'll never forget the pain and the first half of the first step (powerless over my addiction). At my low point, getting high was no longer fun, it became a painful way of life. I surrendered, when I didn't know what it meant, the more I gave in to doing whatever was asked of me, the better things became."

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Sober since 2016

"I'm a Mexican American gay woman in long-term recovery. What that means to me is I have a reason every day to work on being my best self. I was fortunate enough to be able to survive some of the darkest times in my life to now in my recovery, with the help of amazing organizations, fellowships, friends and family to LIVE A FULL LIFE TODAY. I am proud to be a person in recovery and my positive message to anyone struggling is that recovery is possible. Despite the darkness and fear I felt in my lowest hour, I can live in the light of this beautiful life grateful for today.



Sober since 2008

“My sobriety date is July 16, 2023. At my lowest, I weighed 80 lbs and faced a terrifying moment in the emergency room down south when my breathing trouble revealed a spot on my lungs. Despite this scare, I continued down a destructive path with drug use back in Chicago. My family, exhausted by my dishonesty and self-destructive behavior, took me to Cook County Emergency room where I stayed overnight. Tests confirmed cocaine in my system, leading to my referral to Haymarket for treatment. That's where my journey to recovery began. After over 100 days, I found my way onto The Wright Path with God’s guidance.

Arriving here felt daunting, but I began to listen, follow instructions, and slowly, my world brightened again. Recovery matters immensely, and I’m grateful for the acceptance I found here. Throughout my life and various recovery institutions across different cities, I’ve never gained as much knowledge and tools as I have now. To quote Maya Angelou, 'And still I rise.'



Chicago Recovery Community Member


"My name is Cortez Givens, and I've been on the journey of recovery for 10 years now. At the start of 2023, I found myself at rock bottom. I lost my career, my family, and my home due to poor decisions and destructive patterns. This led me to a point of homelessness, having to return to Chicago with absolutely nothing.


Despite those challenging times, I found support and a turning point with CRCC.

Their guidance didn't just help me secure employment; it taught me how to sustain it. CRCC treated me like family and equipped me with tools to face life without falling back into harmful habits. This experience has been nothing short of life-changing, showing me a new path forward."



Sober since 1991

"“After being clean for 32 years I still make meetings, work steps, talk to my sponsor, and I have 8 women that I help through the 12 steps. I go to clean & sober events, and I surround myself around recovering people every day. I don't go around old people, places, and things. That is how I stay clean & sober. 


My lowest point in my life is when I was shot 3 times by a male that wanted my drugs. I would not give up the drugs, so he shot me and left me for dead. But God's grace and mercy saved my life. When on the operating table I saw the white light, and I begin to think about my children, who would raise them if I died on this table. 3 days later I woke in intensive care, and my life begin because God gave me another chance at life.


I live life to the fullest today 32 years later. Mother, wife, grandmother and great-grand-mother at 62 years young."

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Sober since 2000

 "My journey started in 2016 with alcohol. My husband had died I didn't know how to deal with it, so I turned to alcohol. At first it was ok. Then I had to do it to live - it was like I had to do it just to start my day. It began interrupting other areas of my life my weight. I went from150lbs to 100lbs quickly. It began bothering my health it was downhill from there. I began getting embarrassed, so I started drinking alone. Even then it looked as if I had been in the house with five or six people outside of myself I had enough I said GOD please help me and he did. I checked myself into a treatment center and that's where I came in contact with Chicago Recovering Communities Coalition. They have been my biggest support then and now. I learned about my disease they helped me. I'm not gone lie and tell anyone it was easy but it does get easier.  I wouldn't trade anything for my gift, my peace. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Anything worth fighting for isn't easy. It gets easier as time pasts. Give yourself a chance give your chance a chance. Don't let the disease win anymore battles. I'm Tyrena I'm a Proud Recovering Alcoholic. I'm Stigma Free. I'm Happy,Joyous,and, Free.There is light at the end of the tunnel.

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"At my lowest point if I didn't have alcohol I would start withdrawals and have alcoholic seizures. My life was a mess, I couldn't take care of myself or my son. I couldn't keep a job. My family and friends didn't want anything to do with me because they never knew what version of me the would get. I couldn't keep a job. My life was a mess to say the very least. I woke up one day and just knew if I continued living the way I was... I was going to die , and probably sooner than later. I checked myself into detox/rehab where I stayed for 38 day. I knew I couldn't go back to life as I knew it so I went into sober living for women. I started going to daily AA meeting sometimes 2-3 a day.  There is no big secret it's really simple you have to surrender. Also you have to follow the suggestions from the people who are winning their battle with addiction. Don't use. Go to meetings. Get a sponsor. Work the 12 steps. Stay away from old people, places and things. And start giving yourself a break and forgive yourself. And be grateful!! "



"At my lowest point I was homeless and living in a shelter. A nice reverend to me under her wing and introduced me to a lady named Ms.Dora. Ms.Dora introduced me to recovery. Today I live in a woman's sober living house. I go to AA daily. I work with my sponsor. I talk with others about recovery daily. I am grateful for my recovery and my second chance at life. Anyone who is struggling with drugs and alcohol can have a better life if he or she REALLY wants one. There is no big secret it's really simple you have to surrender. Also you have to follow the suggestions from the people who are winning their battle with addiction. Don't use. Go to meetings. Get a sponsor. Work the 12 steps. Stay away from old people, places and things. And start giving yourself a break and forgive yourself. And be grateful!! Those are the things I have been doing and every day it gets easier."



"If I can get clean, so can you. The first thing I did was stop using drugs. I got a sponsor and began working steps. I make NA meetings and I do service work.


I have six years, my clean date is 12/16/17. I had lost everything and ended up living in a dog park in a tent. One day I was at my lowest point and called out, 'HELP ME GOD.'


Then I went to treatment and I've been clean ever since. And now I'm living my best life."



"Thirty-one years, eleven months. Hello, my name is Jeff, and I am an addict. On March 14, 1992, I stole $60 from my baby sister and helped her look for it. After we couldn't find it, I went out and bought some crack and attempted to get high. I say 'attempted' because of the shame and guilt that I felt because of stealing my sister's money, I could not get high. After I came back inside, I sat down on the couch and my mother sat next to me and asked me, 'Where did she go wrong?' Well, that really hit me hard, and I told her that she didn't and that I made the decision to start getting high and smoking crack. So the next morning, 3/15/92, I went into treatment for the last time and haven't looked back since. Thank God for NA and all that it has allowed me to do in my recovery. My mother was a very important part of me getting and staying clean."



"Today, I make meetings, surround myself with people who are just like me and faced addiction but found a way out. Today, I have a sponsor who believes in me and helps me in my recovery. Today, I share about how I am feeling instead of trying to numb how I feel. I have a loving God of my understanding who leads and guides me. I was at my lowest after I had lost my kids and my mother. I couldn’t imagine that I would be this addicted to something that caused me to lose my children shortly after my mom passed away, and she was my rock. I knew then I had to stop using; I just didn’t know how. But with a lot of prayers, a made-up mind, and some willingness to change, I made a decision to get some help. And today, I am now a responsible mother, employee, and a sister and friend again. I have a new way to live and give back whenever I can. I now know what it feels like to live again. Happy, joyful, and free. I have been in recovery two years and two months."



"I learned to trust God and to lean not to my own understanding. I learned that I never 'have' to use again, no matter how I feel, what I think, or what external circumstances I'm confronted with. I learned that it is okay to ask for help, and the importance of being honest, humble, and vulnerable with others I trust. I also learned the importance of giving back the love, generosity, open-mindedness, patience, care, compassion, and concern that was given to me. I am the founder and director of Our House of Blessings recovery homes for women who experience challenges related to substance abuse and/or mental health challenges. Helping others gives me purpose and helps me to maintain a healthier lifestyle. I also exercise and eat healthy. I've been clean and in the ongoing process of recovery for 29 years and 9 months. At my lowest point, I was in prison after having walked away from a management career at General Motors, my family, and my career plans because of my crack cocaine addiction. I robbed myself of my dignity, self-respect, self-worth, and sense of self." 

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"I don't use no matter what, one day at a time, 23 years in recovery.


I lost my husband & my oldest daughter; I still didn't use.


I trust God through any and all my affairs." 

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