My name is Neil and I am 51 years old. I moved to Davis in 1969. My father, who was a psychiatrist, got a higher paying job in Davis. Before that, we lived in Pueblo, New Mexico and New London, Connecticut, where I was born in 1962.
I grew up in Davis in a middle class family. Through elementary, intermediate, junior high and high school I was smoking cigarettes, marijuana, alcohol and eventually cocaine, LSD, methamphetamine and heroin. This worked okay for the first few years but by age 18 I was a full blown alcoholic and drug addict. Also, I was chewing a can of Copenhagen and smoking 30 cigarettes a day.
The drugs and alcohol were no longer working. I was hooked and there was no way out. I was no longer living in a middle class family; I was on SSI, sometimes working full time, only to squander my earnings on drugs and alcohol, only to lose my job after a couple of years or less.
I was 51-50’d 17 times from approximately age 18-35. There were 6 months to a year psych lock-ups. Then the authorities said it looked like they may have to lock me up and throw away the key, never having freedom again. The message that I was going to be locked up for life set in and I started to turn around.
I got sober on Beamer Street in Woodland, September of 1992 for 1 ½ years. Then like can be the nature of alcoholism and drug addiction, I relapsed and went into active use for about 1 ½ years and got sober again for 3 ½ years. During this time, I began working the 12 steps of a 12-step program for a second time, swearing off alcohol and drugs again, one day at a time.
After 3 ½ years sober, I relapsed and went into active use again for 1 year. On October 15th, 1998, I was in a desperate, drunken, drug addicted depression and I turned myself into Woodland Memorial Hospital’s 3B North psych ward. At this time, I was suicidal with a dual diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder type A and drug and alcohol addiction. I have been clean and sober now 15 going on 16 years. I quit smoking cigarettes 6 years ago.
I was getting my keys for my apartment at Cesar Chavez Plaza at the end of March 2013 and the Sutter Davis Hospital was already rolling me into the emergency room. They took a blood test the day before and my blood sugar was 641. It could have killed me. They brought my blood sugar down. I now have diabetes type 2, which I take medicine for.
After the blood sugar incident, I got called back to the hospital for medication toxicity. The medication level was 2 ¼ times the toxic limit. The hospital brought that down too. I also no longer take that medication.
Now I am at Cesar Chavez Plaza in a fully functioning apartment with a great support social worker staff and the apartment manager that I see most days. I was sleeping 22 hours a day before I came to Cesar. I get out of bed early now; have friends, busy days, and a wonderful girlfriend. I can’t work because of my disability, but I am able to keep busy, and get more healthy. CCP is the perfect setting that is helping me do that.
Now I work on the computer and am a stand up comedian, usually coming up with the next joke. I attend a 12-step program a couple of times a week, attend the Monday night meal at Cesar, use the donations from the UCD dining hall and attend NAMI Connection mental health recovery group at Cesar.
CCP has proved to be a new dawn in my once dreary hopeless life. I hope to live here a long time and progress. I have replaced alcohol and drugs with food and am now 140 pounds overweight. When I lose weight I will feel even better.
Thank you Carlye Wilder, Synda Whitmer, Kathy Delaney, John Stewart Company. Also the CCP investors and Bill Pride, head of Davis Community Meals.