Kyle’s Amazing Transformation
Kyle is clean cut and wearing a company uniform for his job as an electrician, there are no outward signs pointing to his internal trauma. When he first sat down it was obvious by the look on his face that his experience living on the street changed him forever.
Kyle is charismatic with a great sense of humor. Throughout our meeting he courageously unveiled the intimate details of his story with an honest and insightful perspective.
“I want to help others not make the same mistakes I made. I want to give back to others like Bridge House and the Ready to Work program have given to me.”
In the beginning of our conversation, Kyle gazed out of the window as if he was searching for the right place to begin his story. “I lived a double life in high school,” Kyle said in a clearly disappointed tone. “I started using crystal meth when I was 15 and even as I began to sink deeper into my addiction, I still graduated in the top 10% of my class. I was confident that using drugs would not affect my life in the least bit.”
Kyle described his early childhood as “typical” and he thoughtfully recalled growing up in a very loving home. His parents were never aware of how entrenched he had gotten into his drug use.
After high school, Kyle continued to be expert at living a double life. Although he waded deeper and deeper into his addiction, he was still able to maintain high paying jobs in the tech industry.
By the time he was 21, Kyle was married and owned a home in Greeley. He was offered a promotion at work yet he was still immersed in his drug addiction and he began to drink heavily. Soon after he was arrested for a DUI, his wife left him, and he turned to a new and very dangerous new drug – heroin. Working in middle management, Kyle juggled his heroin addiction and his career for many years, but his carefully designed life began to crumble as he entered the world of drug dealing and selling stolen goods to feed his addiction.
“I thought I had a handle on it. I thought I was in control until I woke up one morning and I had lost my apartment and my car was now my home. Eventually I was so beaten down from all of the drugs that I thought my only option was to ditch my car and live on the street. While I was living on the street, I did manage to find a couple of jobs but I quit all of them as soon as I was hired. I just couldn’t handle it.”
For over a year, Kyle lived under a bridge even during the dead of winter. He suffered from life threating frostbite twice and almost lost his fingers. Kyle ate his meals at Bridge House every day and talked to a few case managers seeking a way off the street. In one of his meetings he was told about the Ready to Work program.
“When I found out about Ready to Work, I knew this was a program that I just had to be a part of so I applied, but was told I needed to be clean and sober before I would be accepted. I desperately needed a way off the street. I was slowly losing my sanity and knew if I didn’t sober up, I would end up spending the rest of my life on the street. I continued to live on the street for 5 more months while I struggled to quit drinking and doing drugs. Living sober on the street was almost unbearable, but I was determined. What most people do not understand is the trauma that happens to an individual when they are on the street. Every day we are in a constant state of stress struggling to stay safe and alive. I needed more than just a job, I needed a safe place to recover. I needed a program to help me reenter society.”
The first few months living in the Ready to Work House was difficult for Kyle. Living inside after spending all that time outdoors was not an easy adjustment.
“Thankfully I had the Ready to Work case managers to help support me through this transition. I felt like a caged animal…like I didn’t belong. In Ready to Work I learned a new way to live. Before Ready to Work, it would have been impossible for me to move into a place of my own and work 40 hours a week. I needed more support – I needed a reintroduction into mainstream living. In Ready to Work, I was able to get my feet wet and gain some traction. Ready to Work is set-up for someone like me to succeed with the consistent work schedule and case management support. I knew that everyone at the Ready to Work House wanted me to succeed.”
Throughout the year Kyle was in the program he opened a bank account, utilized the mentor program and addressed his debt. In two months his credit score jumped 100 points.
As Kyle spoke of the new direction his life has taken since Ready to Work, his optimism lit up the room. Kyle has his life back, finally free from his addictions and he is thriving. Working as an electrician and living in his own apartment, Kyle’s self-esteem has bloomed and he has hope.
“I feel blessed. Getting out of homelessness is not as easy as becoming homeless, and I am so thankful for Bridge House and everything they helped me accomplish. I still am amazed that there are people in our community who care so much for those of us who just need a second chance.”
In a time of desperation with nowhere to turn, Ready to Work was just the opportunity that Kyle needed. At Bridge House, we believe in possibilities – we believe in our clients and we believe that by offering a job and a safe place to live, adults experiencing homelessness can recover. Each year, at Ready to Work we see over 40 individuals graduate our program and Kyle is only one example of the personal transformations that happen every day at Bridge House.