801-486-5012

My experiences with club house by Kyle Robinson

All my life I been dealing with autism and depression

And I have been in therapy since I was little. I was in special education for all of school. At the age of 18 my therapist at valley referred me to the Alliance House and I started going there. At first it was a little intimating and very hard and I was very shy too. But once I got to know the members and the staff members I made good friends with: Chuck, Betsy, Kent, Jen, Duncun, and Scot. And the staff I got to know and made real good friends with are Rebecca and Amber. I am 24 now and I am still going strong in the club house. There are great friends and a good support system.

I feel welcomed in to the community of the clubhouse.

They really support me in my time of need when I had my car accident and almost died. And they even support me in my 10 month recovery. And clubhouse helped me get my high school diploma. And even supported a motivated me to graduate and walk and get my diploma. I have been back a few months and doing good. And last year I met Wayne. Now after my recovery he is still my friend. And I am still hanging out with all my friends that I have known for a while. And still get along with Amber and Rebecca.

And hang and get to know the new director Leif and hang with Terry and our new staff Daniel. I am starting to get into my dream of writing books and writing my first book. And tons of people are supporting me in that, including clubhouse. My friend Wayne. And my new friend Honey is going to be my writing coach. I like club house because it is good for Support, Friendship, and the feeling of feeling wanted and not alone.

 

By | May 24th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Stigma Within the Clubhouse Community by Tom Sweet

Schizophrenic, manic-depressive, specialist, generalist, staff, member, line-staff, residence counselor, director, bureaucrat, administrator, personality disorder, unit-based, non-unit based – the list of how we can label each other, or self-stigmatize, is seemingly endless.  Even as we vociferously advocate against stigma in the media, discrimination in the workplace, and unequal application of laws and funding for people with mental illness, we continue to apply some of the same techniques that we despise so much outside our clubhouses, to ourselves within.  The first direction we must undertake, as a worldwide community, as distinct clubhouses and as individuals, is to eradicate stigma from our daily lives, at least within the context of the clubhouse and our work.

 

Stigmatization occurs when we say “I’m just a member” or, “he’s a specialist.”  The fundamental and exhilarating truth is that there are no such people – there is only us.  We are all part of the same community, and as such, equal in and as much as we all contribute our unique talents and abilities.  In a clubhouse, there can be no room for distinguishing between, or comparing the levels of contribution.  The single act of contributing itself promotes the healing environment of the clubhouse which, in turn, facilitates recovery of the membership and strengthening of the staff, even as the community itself becomes stronger and more vibrant.  When we differentiate between the value of certain roles, contributions, or abilities, we violate our most deeply held beliefs: that all of us have some part that is well; that all of us have some unique talent or skill; and that all of us are worth of the same level of respect, decency and kindness that we accord anyone else with whom we come into contact.

 

When we label each other (or ourselves) we pigeonhole people as being limited to certain roles, abilities, or functions, thereby capping their potential.  This, of course, directly contradicts the vision of Fountain House, which states that our vision is “…that people with mental illness everywhere achieve their potential and are respected as co-workers, neighbors and friends.”  While this image explicitly pertains to men and women with mental illness, it is impossible to treat members one way, and staff in a diametrically opposed fashion, and still have one community.  Further, if staff are stigmatized through appellations such as “administrator,” “specialist,” “caseworker,” or any other limiting terminology, how can we expect them not to do likewise to members, consciously or unconsciously?  We treat those around us as we are treated ourselves, by our superiors as well as our peers and our friends.

 

In the clubhouse, it is incumbent upon us to see each other as individuals, as people, not as “cases” or “caseworkers” in order to assist each other in achieving our respective potentials.  In so doing, we will strengthen our community thorough the resultant relationships that will be built upon, mutuality, respect and dignity.

 

 

Community Through Contribution and Mutuality

 

Once we have established the fact that in a clubhouse we cannot label ourselves or others, we must tackle the job of articulating how to talk intelligently and meaningfully about the individuals who make up the community (staff and members).  How can we identify roles, responsibilities and accountability, without stigmatizing, pigeonholing, or limiting the potential of the people who are identified with them?

 

Perhaps the clearest way to start is to talk about how all of the individuals who comprise the clubhouse community contribute, irrespective of their perceived role or position.  There are as many different ways to contribute to the clubhouse community as there are people, but for our purposes, we will concentrate on the general ways that all members, staff, board and other stakeholders can contribute, irrespective of role, title or function.

 

Engaging And Attracting Attitudes: A Contribution We All Can Make

 

The way we carry ourselves and interact with others, even (or perhaps especially) non-verbally, can convey powerful meaning and invoke strong reactions, negative or positive.  For example, staff and members who arrive at the clubhouse full of cheer and excitement about beginning a new day, full of opportunities, are much more likely to attract, inspire and engage others in the work of the house, than those that arrive looking hangdog and depressed, or simply rush to their area and begin working.

 

If we accept the premise that people (staff, members and board) keep coming because of how they are welcomed, celebrated, and supported for who they are, then how we present ourselves and interact each day clearly becomes of paramount importance.  Our presentation of ourselves, if it is positive and upbeat, is most likely to attract and engage those around us, contributing to a healthy, healing environment and promoting meaningful relationships.  The converse is true as well.  If we are negative, act angry, depressed, distressed or otherwise out-of-sorts, our presentation is most likely to repel, discouraging relationships (even previously established ones) and we can be a destructive influence on the atmosphere of the clubhouse.

 

The beauty of this premise is that anyone can be a positive, contributing force for clubhouse strength, as described above, irrespective of role, status, job, or function.  In this way, there are no specialist (or we are all specialists) when it comes to the fundamentals of establishing and nurturing an environment of recovery.  All of us can and must treat ourselves and others with honesty, respect, decency and warmth.  This, not the specific roles we perform, is what creates the essence of the healing clubhouse community.

 

The Power of “Thank You”

 

When we talk in clubhouse about engaging members, we often hear stories about members who come to the clubhouse day in and day out, but when asked to help, adamantly refuse.  The work of the staff and members of the clubhouse is to engage this person, which sometimes means just recognizing that getting up and out to the clubhouse can be a day’s work in and of itself.  However, there is a reason that these members are coming – in some way they feel connected perhaps even comfortable.  Understanding this, it then becomes incumbent upon us, members and staff, to place opportunities in their path, open doorways that can become portals to recovery.

 

Perhaps the most effective way to start this engagement process is by creating mechanisms for thanking the person for something, no matter how trivial.  The specifics are not the issue; the importance is in the ability to say “thank you” and to mean it sincerely.  This simple act recognizes the person as an individual, not as a random choice of someone to perform a task.  Saying thank you has the effect of recognizing the person as someone of value and worth (whom you consider to be capable).  When the task is accomplished, no matter how small it was, the person knows that he or she has been appreciated for a job well done.  Saying thank you assures the person that he or she is a full member of the community, having performed something that contributes to the common weal.

 

This process is so powerful that we all must, as we go about our clubhouse work, consciously seek out opportunities to use it.  Whether we are the one that has engaged someone else in a task, or whether we simply recognize that someone has performed a function that contributes, no matter how small (picking up litter and throwing it away, delivering a piece of mail), the possibilities are endless, and should be seized whenever possible.

 

The widespread use of “thank you” in the clubhouse is one of the most powerful ways of building and strengthening individual bonds that, in turn, make our community stronger.  Whenever we can take the opportunity to thank each other, we must do so; if opportunities fail to appear, we must create them.

 

There is nothing to prevent any member of our clubhouse community from performing this very simple, but powerful function that recognizes, dignifies and celebrates another member of the clubhouse community.  There is nothing to limit it to unit staff, members only, or any other category that one might care to create.  Again, when it comes to the absolute fundamentals of what we do, there is no such thing as a generalist or a specialist.  There is nothing to stop any of us from respecting and acknowledging one another’s contributions, thereby contributing to the continued strength of the community.

 

Functions, Accountability and Role Modeling

 

All clubhouse community members have specific functions, responsibilities and accountability.  Clearly, depending on one’s role in the clubhouse, these differ, sometimes significantly.  What does not change is our responsibility to each other, and our individual accountability for our work.  Though members cannot and should not be held accountable for bottom-line responsibility for actual clubhouse work, they can and must, be held accountable to the same standard that applies to the entire clubhouse community – that of treating other members of the commuting with dignity and respect.  We are all responsible and accountable for our behavior and that is where the commonality lies between all community participants.

 

For staff, no matter what their specific role within the clubhouse, the same clearly holds true.  Staff are expected to be in control of their behavior, to role model positive interactions, and to substantially and meaningfully engage members in their work.  They are also expected to serve as role models, whenever possible, demonstrating best work practices, in terms of social and vocational behavior.  For small clubhouses this is fairly straightforward as many specialized tasks are performed by a parent auspice agency, while the clubhouse staff focuses on basic clubhouse work.  However, as clubhouses grow in size and complexity they tend to take on more and provide more, necessitating adding on roles and functions that often require special training, education or skills.  Examples include fundraising, accounting, supervisory positions, housing staff, etc.  All of these functions require some level of expertise or specific education, credentialing or training.

 

None of these so-called “specialist” functions preclude contributing to the community in the ways previously described.  However, accountability for these jobs may limit the amount of support, Transitional Employment, involvement in after hours recreational programs and the like.  This does not mean that they cannot or should not be involved in these and other aspects of the clubhouse.

 

Ideally, everyone, especially staff, should be an integral part of the community through participation in all that the community has to offer.  However, some staff have other contributions that they are required to make to the community, as part of their accountability to the clubhouse.  In smaller, auspiced clubhouses, this premise most likely pertains to the director only, who must attend meetings, raise money, prepare levels of service reports, meet with the advisory board and representatives from the auspice agency, etc.  In addition, of course, the director would be contributing in the ways that all community members contribute, and probably have many of the “regular” staff functions, just fewer in quantity, not quality.  In larger, more complex clubhouses, the role of director is often divided amongst one or more staff.  As with the director of the small agency, these staff have certain functions for which they have the primary responsibility.  However, they must also see themselves as full members of the community, and as substantial contributors, who contribute on multiple levels: by fulfilling their job, by performing “regular” staff roles, and by how they present themselves and interact with all other members of the clubhouse community.

 

For example, if accounting staff do not pay the bills because they have forsaken their primary roles for other functions, (talking with members, taking on community support functions, or simply spending the majority of their time performing work that is done more typically by the units) and the lights, heat and phone are disconnected, who benefits and who suffers?  Clearly, the electricity, heat and phones must be in good working order for the clubhouse to function.  Without proper administration, the clubhouse might well close its doors, at which point everyone is the poorer.

 

We all have our designated areas of responsibility – not ‘specialist’ or ‘generalist’ – just designated jobs that we are paid to do.  One of these responsibilities is to role model good working habits.  In all cases, for all employers, good working habits are characterized by getting one’s job done, doing it well, and in a timely fashion.  We all contribute to our clubhouse by following these tenets, irrespective of our job title, role or function.  When we take time away from fulfilling our primary roles we send the wrong message.

 

We are all accountable for the same general set of expectations, and then, above and beyond that, we may have additional accountability or responsibilities, the fulfillment of which provides substantial contributions to the welfare of the clubhouse community, and the abdication or abrogation of which could be extremely harmful.

 

The synthesis that happens in a healthy clubhouse ensures that the sum is greater than the component parts.  The key to this synthesis, I believe, likes in the mutuality amongst us all.  Not equality, as no person is truly equal to another in a literal sense, but the fact that we all have something of value and merit to give and something to receive, otherwise none of us would be here.  What we give and receive range from concrete services to life-long friendships, and everything in between.  The distinguishing feature is that such mutuality, such giving, is possible and necessary for all of us, and is the dynamo that drives the clubhouse, keeping it strong, exciting, vibrant and healthy.  When mutuality fails to develop, however, we not only become strangers to each other; we begin the process of unraveling the tapestry that comprises our clubhouse.

 

Behavior Vs. Symptomatology

 

Behavior, particularly that of the staff, can have a profound impact for good or ill upon the community environment.  While it is incumbent on all of us, staff and members, Board or Advisory Board, to contribute positively, and all of us can and should be held accountable, there are differences in the nature, type and application of this accountability.  In the clubhouse, in recognition of the various stages of recovery that members often go through, we tend to accept (or try to work with) an enormous range of behavior.  Some of this behavior would be considered unacceptable at worst and off-putting at best, in other places of business or in public or family settings.  As a community, our responsibility and great joy, often, is in challenging such behavior and, over time and with consistent reinforcement, observing positive changes.

 

Does mental illness excuse bad behavior?  Clearly, the answer is a resounding no.  If we did not believe in people’s ability to change, to grow, to improve, none of us would have embarked on this journey.  However, the question is not an easy one to ask, let alone answer.  Is it never reasonable to make the assumption that someone’s mental illness has a direct causal relationship with a negative behavior?  However, we can all also agree that some people are capable of being rude, unpleasant, or just downright nasty, mental illness or no mental illness – staff or member – just as others are consistently sunny and pleasant, with most of us vacillating somewhere in the middle.

 

Seldom, if ever, do staff (or members, for that matter) confront rude behavior and address it.  Yet, this is precisely what must happen.  Such behavior, whether inspired by mental illness or not¸ is rude and unacceptable.  When tolerated, it is harmful to the individual, to others around who receive the message that such behavior is ok, and, therefore, harmful to the community at large.  Such behaviors are infectious and can spread perniciously throughout a community, corrupting the culture, if not corralled and dealt with at the point of origin.  We are all members of the same community, which is only as strong and healthy as we keep it.

 

Mental illness does not discriminate, and people can be rude or otherwise unpleasant for reasons totally disassociated with any mental illness they may have.  When rudeness is caused or created by symptomatology directly associated with someone’s illness, it is just as important, if not more so, to address these actions as we would any others.  Anything less is discriminatory and stigmatizing.  This does not mean we should be insensitive or rude ourselves.  Once again, every action and every word sends powerful messages to our community, and we are all accountable for those actions and words.  Thus, we must each – members and staff – consciously and conscientiously be aware of our behavior.  We are each charged with opening portals that lead to members recovering their lives.  Just as we can, individually and as a community, open these portals and usher people through them, we also have the power to slam them shut, through our behavior and actions.

 

Conclusion

 

Clubhouses, when distilled down to the absolute basics, are founded on certain crosscutting truths that relate to the humanity in each one of us: mutuality, respect, dignity and decency.  As such, all of us can and must contribute to the healing clubhouse environment that promotes recovery, through the various mechanisms delineated in this paper.  We can, and must, each start by seeing ourselves as equal contributors, without differentiation or categorization and without comparison of relative contributions.

 

We must conscientiously and consistently seek out ways of contributing, through our actions and behaviors.  Our actions, behaviors, and interactions must promote mutuality.

 

We must seek commonality through mutual esteem and respect in our relationships, and constantly reinforce that which binds our communities tighter, turning strangers into friends, neighbors and co-workers.  Then, and only then, can we assure a unified community that is strong, vibrant and healthy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By | May 10th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Standard of the Season

 

By Dunc Macdonald

This time I will be discussing Standard #11.   This standard reads:  Responsibility for the operation of the Clubhouse lies with the members and staff and ultimately with the Clubhouse director. Central to this responsibility is the engagement of members and staff in all aspects of Clubhouse operation.

I feel that this is one that we really need to adhere to.  It reminds us all that it doesn’t matter whether you are a member, staff or executive director we all share the same responsibility to the Clubhouse.  We’re all members of the Clubhouse.  This means that the work-ordered day needs to be focused on the work towards the operation of the Clubhouse.  At Alliance House, we are currently looking at personal use of the computers and how this affects the work-ordered day. As a Clubhouse we meet regularly in House and Policy Meetings to address issues relevant to the workings of the house.

The second sentence of this standard can’t be ignored. It is up to all of us to make sure that every member and staff member that wants to be engaged in the work of the Clubhouse is always given the opportunity to be given meaningful work of the house.  I want you to notice that I said both members and staff.   This means that veteran members need to try to head hunt for meaningful work for newer members as well as the staff members.  Veteran members are a key element in any Clubhouse.   They not only need to assist with teaching other members the projects and tricks on those projects and sometimes even staff members.  Another function of veteran members is to take the reins on projects that they already know and let the staff assist other members with the projects they are working on.

To sum things up, my point is that we all have the responsibility to keep the Clubhouse running no matter what type of member you are.

By | May 2nd, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Labeled
By Rachael Giles
In March of 2017 The Alliance House was proud to introduce the Labeled Film Festival. Labeled presented films from Au Contraire Film Festival based in Canada featuring films from all around the world. All the films highlighted different aspects of mental illness. Labeled began on March 23rd and ended on March 26th, covering a range of subjects and plots. Many of the films had a panel discussion with Alliance House members speaking about the topics at hand, as well as individuals from throughout the community and from our sponsors. Opening night took place at the Natural History Museum and the following nights were held at The Broadway Theater.
These films struck chords close to all our hearts and represented us as a Clubhouse. All of us can identify with one film or another and have all walked in the shoes of the featured characters. This film festival gives our clubhouse the opportunity to connect with the greater community on the subject of mental health. Film is a fantastic medium with which to touch the hearts of people with or without a mental illness. It allows us to communicate a difficult subject to the masses with a sense of grace.
We were thrilled to see many of our members as well as individuals throughout the community attend Labeled and take part in the greater conversation regarding mental health. We hope to see you all next year and hope these films touch your heart.

By | May 2nd, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Dave Harper part 1

My name is David Eugene Harper II, but call me Dave. I was born on June 16th, 1970, in Paola Ks., during a tornado warning, (If that gives you a hint of my life until now. I wish I could say that all the turbulence that I’ve experienced in my life has been other people’s fault, unfortunately I can’t do that. At least 3 quarters of my life’s instability, was because of INSANELY stupid decisions, that were the cause of self-will run riot, but I’ll get to that later. My childhood was anything but normal. Two of my first memories, #1; Sitting at a coffee table, (I think at my  mother’s place with her boyfriend, Mark, looking at a mountain of Cocaine, at least 6 to 8 inches high, and maybe a foot around. My second memory was being awakened in the middle of the night, by my mother screaming because her boyfriend, Mark was beating her. I was sleeping in the bedroom, of a three bedroom trailer, on one end, with my door closed, and they were in the master bedroom on the other end of the trailer with their door shut, and I can remember hearing the impact of each, and every blow. Needless to say, my dad gained custody of me, I think at about four years old. My dad had married a woman named Carol. My first memories of her were images, and feelings really. Vision of a beautiful, and sweet loving woman, with gorgeous long, blond hair. I vaguely remember her being very understanding, and safe to me. After I came to live with them, she cut her hair VERY short, and became an extremely vindictive, vengeful, and abusive person this made me very uneasy, and very resentful, not to mention extremely afraid of women who wear their hair very short, this caused me not to trust short haired women, which I have yet to disassociate her, from other women.  I began to live a horrid life of unimaginable abuse, which would last for more than ten years. My dad never really new, as she rarely used the extreme measures while he was home, and the abuse he did witness, he did nothing about. These two things left me believing that I was worth nothing more than negative things. By the time I started school, I was already a very traumatized kid, and the only way I could express the things that I had gone through was by acting out, a lot. I was every teacher’s worst nightmare. I was very disruptive in class, never did my school work, in, or out of class, I didn’t get along with any of my class mates, and because of how differently I acted, I endured a great deal of bullying, and humiliating treatment, that several times, looking back I think I created. I have wondered if all this had happened now, if a school teacher, or some school counselor would have seen the symptoms, and would have at least approached me, to ask about it, or would have suspected some sort of trauma, or abuse, but they didn’t really consider that in the seventies. Abuse, whether it be physical, emotional, or even sexual, were just not discussed, or thought of, as a possible reason for my constant attempts for attention. When my dad, and step mom were informed about my actions; attention seeking,  poor grades, constant disruptions  and inability to play well with other class mates, they, (dad, and step mom), would whip me with the belt, humiliate, ridicule, and finally ground me, no T.V., and no playing with friends, sometimes for a few weeks at a time. I was only to leave the confines of my room for school, or meals. After many, many of these groundings, I learned to detest being alone. To this day, I will do almost anything to avoid being alone, unless I’m depressed, or frustrated, then I developed the coping skill of isolation. As I learned that isolation meant no abuse of any kind, from any one, I began doing it every day. By the time I was 13, two things began two happen. First, I began skipping days, and weeks of school, (despite my dad, and step mom’s constant tirades, to force me to go), and second, I was in the very beginning stages of what was, much later to be diagnosed with manic-depression. At the time all this was mixing, I started the seventh grade, and was given the opportunity to pick some of my own classes. I thought very hard about this, and picked a couple classes I thought I would like; 2, and 4 stroke mechanics, a wood craft class, and choir. Something amazing happened, I found out, at 13 years old, that I could sing…WELL. I finally found something that I was actually good at. When my dad, and step mom saw this, they absolutely forbid it. What they didn’t know was the inspiration this gave me, in that, to have an “elective” or non required class, the student choosing a choir, or drama class needed to have at least a “c” average. Something I had never acquired. If memory serves, I had never made anything higher than a “D” average in my whole scholastic career until then. When the first quarter grades came out, it, (the grade card), said that I had achieved a high “c” average. My dad, and step mom rescinded their objections to my choice of classes. My VERY first victory.

By | April 14th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Member Story By H. Rachelle Graham

 

The pain inside me used to eat me from the inside out, as if boiling water

Scorched my skin to third-degree burns. Breathing was difficult. Eating was

Impossible. Sleeping was something I could not do. I was out of my mind and

Couldn’t even recognize my own parents. I thought they were evil spirits

Chasing me.

My ups and downs resulted in me staying home all day watching

Marathons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dawson Creek and One Tree Hill. I

Got lost in a world where everything wasn’t hurting, I also lost track of time

And hated my life so badly I tried to kill myself again.

At the time, I wasn’t happy I survived  the doctor pumping my stomach and

Recharging my heart. I believed they had wasted their time.

Although, as I saw the pain and worry in my parents and sisters eyes a

Part of me knew they needed me in this world so I had to learn how to survive

In it.

I started Alliance House in 2011. I recognized the pain disappearing slowly

As I was put to work both in a transitional employment and at the clubhouse.

My transitional employment was with Camp Bow Wow, working with dogs. I

Liked it and enjoyed being able to bring my service dog to play with other

Small animals like her.

The biggest show came when something else started happening. I thought

I was sick. I went to my therapist to see what was wrong with me. When I

Described my symptoms of calmness, a bubbling inside and the need to sing,

Write and dance again, I thought I was going through another maniac state,

But my therapist asked me other questions.

My answers were I was sleeping again, dreaming again and the

Urge to eat again. Instead of staying in bed all day, I jumped out of bed to go

See my new friends at the clubhouse, go to work and finally got my life back.

She said I wasn’t experiencing mania, I was feeling happy, something that

Had become foreign to me over time since being diagnosed at the age of

Twenty. Hospital stays became non-existent and I haven’t tried to hurt my myself

Since 2011.

Since then, I had a successful job for two years as a peer specialist where

I could in turn help others deal with their mental illness, published two novels

Starting in 2012, graduated college with a bachelor’s degree and currently

working on a third novel with a writing coach and a New York City literary

agent. If I ever make real money, I would donate to the Alliance House

because they are one of the main reasons the days are lighter, that I am

writing again and that I not only love myself but have the ability to help and

love others.

By | March 15th, 2017|Uncategorized|1 Comment

ALLIANCE HOUSE AND WHAT IT MEANS TO ME (By Chuck Enriquez)

 

WHEN I ARRIVED AT ALLIANCE HOUSE, I ONLY HAD ONE THING IN MIND AND THAT WAS TO RE-ESTABLISH MYSELF IN THE WORKFORCE.  I WAS A RECENT COLLEGE GRADUATE AND VALEDICTORIAN BUT HAD NOT BEEN ABLE TO CAPITALIZE ON THE SUCCESS.  MY JOB RECORD WAS PRETTY MUCH DONE FOR AND MY GOAL WHEN ARRIVING WAS TO STABILIZE THAT.  PSYCHOLOGICAL CIRCUMSTANCES HAD HELD ME BACK AND I HAD NO IDEA HOW TO GET PAST THAT.

HOWEVER, I GOT WORD THAT ALLIANCE HOUSE HAD A TRANSITIONAL EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM AND FIGURED I WOULD GAMBLE WITH MY LUCK ON HOW THIS WOULD TURN OUT.  THE FIRST YEAR WAS SLOW SINCE I COULD NOT COME CONSISTENTLY, BUT AFTER WORKING OUT A FEW KINKS I STARTED TO ENGAGE IN THE WORK ORDERED DAY. THEN CAME THE FIRST MAJOR STONE IN THE POWERHOUSE, I GOT MY FIRST OPPORTUNITY AS A JANITOR AT VALLEY SERVICES (NEE ADVANTAGE SERVICES).  THE CONFIDENCE GREW DAY BY DAY AND I WAS FEELING CELEBRATED NOT ONLY AT WORK BUT AT THE CLUBHOUSE AS WELL. MY LIVING SITUATION ALSO IMPROVED AS WELL SHORTLY AFTER.  I MANAGED TO GET HOUSING THROUGH THE CLUBHOUSE AS I MOVED INTO THEIR HOUSING UNITS AT 1805 SOUTH MAIN STREET.  AFTER TIMES AT VALLEY SERVICES ENDED, MY NEXT TRANSITIONAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY WAS AT HORIZONTE INSTRUCTION AND TRAINING CENTER.  THE NEXT FEW STONES OF CONFIDENCE CONTINUED AS I LOVED WORKING AT THAT JOB. AFTER HORIZONTE ENDED, ANOTHER GAP OCCURRED AND THEN I ACCEPTED A NEW TRANSITIONAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY ON THE GROUP PLACEMENT JOB AT THE UNIVERSITY OF UTAH.  I WENT THE DISTANCE AT THAT JOB AND WHAT FOLLOWED WAS THE ONE THING THAT WOULD ALL MAKE MY GOAL COMPLETE. I STARTED ANOTHER TRANSITIONAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY AT SQUATTER’S PUB AND BEERS AND IN THE END, THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL WAS APPROACHING.  I GOT HIRED ON PERMANENTLY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF UTAH AND GOT STABLE HOUSING BY TRANSITIONING FROM 1805 TO VALLEY VILLA. THE POWERHOUSE WAS FULLY BUILT AND THE DREAM WAS DONE.

NOW IN THE PRESENT DAY, I STILL LIVE AT VALLEY VILLA AND STILL WORK AT THE UNIVERSITY OF UTAH.  I COME PRETTY REGULARLY HERE AT THE CLUBHOUSE.  WITHOUT A DOUBT I HAVE BONA FIDE THE BEST SUPPORT GROUP I HAVE EVER BEEN AROUND…EVER.  I LOVE BEING WHO I AM AND THAT PSYCHOLOGICAL CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD NEVER SLOW YOU DOWN, IT SHOULD BE THE DRIVE TO SUCCEED THAT SHOULD SPEED YOU UP.  ALL STAFF AND MEMBERS LOVE WHAT I HAVE BECOME AND I HOPE TO BE COMING AROUND HERE AT THE CLUBHOUSE FOR MANY YEARS TO COME.

 

WRITTEN, PRODUCED, AND DIRECTED BY CHUCK ENRIQUEZ

 

‘SO HOLD BACK THE FIRE, BECAUSE THIS MUCH IS TRUE.

WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE, THE ENDING WILL COME.

FROM OUT OF THE BLUE.’

 

  • FROM ‘OUT OF THE BLUE’ BY DAVID GILMOUR
By | March 1st, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

My Story by Mike Coleman

I was introduced to the Alliance House, by the University of Utah Hospital, 5 West Psychiatric Ward. I was admitted on the 27th of September, in 2016.  I admitted myself, due to complications from alcohol dependency and my issues of harming myself.

My issues with alcohol haunted me for quite some time. I started drinking in my twenties.  At that time, it was used to relax me and gave me the courage to be outgoing.  During my childhood, I was usually a shy kid and I had issues with self-confidence and low self-esteem.  I grew up in a military household, so I was expected to excel in school and sports.  I excelled in football and gained a scholarship to play at Dixie College.  That is where my drinking started.  I was young and living on my own for the first time. I continued drinking, socially, but I was able to function and excel at my career as an account receivables/credit analyst.

My drinking got out of control, back in 2010. This was during the great recession and the collapse of the housing market.  I was laid off from my job, as a Credit Analyst, with Staker and Parson Companies.  I was there for 6 years and I loved my job and the people there.  I had trouble finding work that paid me the same as my last job.  To make things worst, my mother was diagnosed with colon cancer and my father passed away, November of that year.

So, the combination of time on my hands and dealing with tragedy with my family, I went on a downward spiral. I started having panic/anxiety attacks and I used alcohol to control them.  I tried numerous medications, i.e. Xanax, Prozac, etc.  None of them worked, as well as alcohol did.  Sometimes I would combine the drugs with alcohol.  My drinking escalated from drinking beers to drinking 1 or 2 liters of vodka a day.

When I was able to obtain employment, my drinking still continued. Unfortunately, my anxiety/panic attacks did not stop, so I would drink at work.  This caused me to lose jobs and good ones, as well.  I started noticing withdrawal symptoms from alcohol, which I came to learn are called Delirium Tremens.  Symptoms include uncontrollable shakes, nausea, difficulty with walking, confusion and possible seizures.  To control those I would double my intake of alcohol.  I’ve been to several detox facilities and rehabs.

This last episode, I was dealing with the loss of my brother and sister. Both died within a month apart, July and August.  I relapsed after 7 months of sobriety.  I came into the 5 West Psychiatric unit to detox from alcohol and to get help with my anxiety/depression issues.  I was living on the streets for about a month.  During my stay there, I was introduced to the Alliance House.  I watched a video and I was impressed at what I saw.   At the time, I was looking for housing and I was told that they helped out with that.  After my discharge, I moved into a Sober Living facility.

During my stay at the Sober Living facility, I took my first tour of the Alliance House. I was introduced to the 3 units they have, which is the Business Unit, Culinary Unit, and the Career Development Unit.  I enjoy all three of them.  But most of all, I love the culture and environment.  Even the staff is part of the community and there are no labels or stigmas.  Everyone is great and everyone has their own stories and challenges.

 

 

By | February 16th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Wayne’s Member Story

MY EXPERIENCE AT CLUBHOUSE

I have been coming to clubhouse for about two years now.  My introduction to Alliance House was through a friend who was already a member.

I came at first expecting there to be nothing to do except the old model of an adult drop off center.  Boy was I ever wrong, much to my surprise. I found there was much to do, all of it was meaningful work not the usual adult make work of drop-in centers.

I have found much fulfillment: helping cook the meals; tutor students in math and science; or running and organizing the Clubhouse Closet.  Each of these activities has taught me things about myself and how to get along with others I work with.

At clubhouse there is no distinction as to who has what diagnosis or disability. We all work side by side as equals.  Some are talented in one area, some are talented in another; these are not barriers they are learning experiences.  We take these opportunities to make friends, strengthen our own resolve; this happens between both staff and members.

I have found not only a sense of belonging here at clubhouse; I have also found in a degree a sense of family.  I have gained people in my life I would have never met or been able to include in my circle of friends and family.

by Wayne

By | February 8th, 2017|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Erin Crawford

This is my story: By Erin Crawford

When I first heard about Alliance House, I told my parents that I did not want to go there, I was scared. They said to me, “go check it out” and “see what it all about”. So I went with them and they got me a tour at the Alliance house. I was scared for a few days, then I met some people they were just like me and I made some friends there. After a few months, I knew all about the Alliance House and now I have been here for 2 years and I love it. It helps me get out of bed and be with other people and do activities on Thursday and 2 times during the month on Saturday. Now I am the clubhouse rep and I help with donations. I also help in the kitchen, with shopping, and grocery lists. This is the best place I have been to.

My mom helped me all my life. She’s been there for me. I wanted to thank her.

By | January 26th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments