Focusing on the Future: Mike’s Story

For nearly 50 years, Mike suffered from a substance use disorder. But, today, at the age of 71, he has reclaimed his life. Like many of the 12,000 people Haymarket Center serves each year, Mike’s story is one of resilience, second chances, and hope.

“Your addiction talks to you in your own voice. It will tell you what you can and cannot do.”

A few years ago, Mike was referred to Haymarket through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Although this wasn’t his first time at Haymarket, this time something was different within himself, and he prioritized his health and his recovery.

What stuck out for Mike was our staff’s dedication to treating our patients’ whole person, physical and mental health, beyond just that of their substance use disorders.

“The staff kept making their suggestions: ‘Oh it seems like you got a lot going on, but you haven’t had any time to focus on you.’ I thought what I was doing was focusing on me. But what they meant was focusing on me, my behaviors, my thinking,” Mike explained.

That is what Haymarket Center’s evidence-based approach to treatment is all about: holistic care, centered on empathy, helping our patients recover from substance use disorders, but also recover from the impact that lifetimes of struggles have had on them. Because of the generosity of our donors, we are one of a few organizations in Chicago providing substance use disorder and mental health treatment 24/7/365.

“I’m a 71-year-old man just now beginning to live life on life’s terms. I’m not mad at it, I’m grateful,” Mike explained. When Mike began focusing on his thinking, he realized how much it had been holding him back. Mike credits his case manager in our Community Integration Program with having a huge impact on his recovery. Because of him, Mike has what he calls his “three Cs. Cognition, that’s your thought process, Choice, and then Consequences.” Recognizing this has been monumental in Mike’s recovery.

“If I had known it would have been this sweet, I would have quit a long time ago,” Mike said.

In his recovery, Mike has found a new passion for giving back – to his community, to people struggling with recovery and, to Haymarket Center. Mike participated in an internship at Haymarket that trains individuals in recovery for positions in the behavioral health field. For nearly two years, Mike has worked as a case manager at Haymarket, inspiring others in their recovery journeys.

“I look forward to coming here every day when I’m working. To see the miracles that can happen. Because they do, they happen.”

While we celebrate Mike’s success, we recognize that there are countless others like him who are still fighting their own battles.

With your help, our staff, including Mike, will be there when we are needed, ready to transform as many lives as possible. Together with you, we have the power to address the serious health problems our patients face, day after day.

“We have this saying. We’ll carry you until you’re able to stand on your own” and that’s what they did here at Haymarket. And I’m able to stand,” Mike said.

Please consider donating to Haymarket Center to support more ‘miracles’ like Mike has experienced.

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