“If You Have a Hope to Succeed, You Can Achieve it”

When you meet Jackie, the first thing you’ll notice is his positivity – but life hasn’t always looked so positive to Jackie. Now, four years after he started coming to Thrive, he’s found it within him to see the silver linings in life.

When his daughter was murdered at 32-years-old, Jackie’s world stopped. It took him on an emotional trip that was getting out of control: his thoughts haunted him, and he wondered if his job, which he had made the focal point of his life, had stood in the way of him being there for his daughter:

“You blame yourself, you wonder what your last words were to her, and a thousand thoughts cross your mind and you become so isolated because of depression that you create a monster within yourself,” Jackie said.

So he sought help. He met a Case Worker who told him about Thrive DC, and soon after, he was coming weekly to receive counseling and hot meals.

Despite having a house, Jackie didn’t always have heat or electricity and coming to Thrive allowed him to have a warm cup of coffee and a hot meal. Sometimes something as small as hot coffee, Jackie said, makes a huge difference.

Meeting staff, volunteers, and other clients was also a big turning point in Jackie’s journey to recovery. The people he embraced and got acquainted with also face so many different challenges, “that helped me to personalize my own problems. It made me stop feeling so sorry for myself because I’m not the only one with problems. Coming to Thrive really opened my eyes.”

At Thrive, Jackie learned how to check his emotions. At one point he had let his diagnosis of depression and PTSD define him, but he grew to understand that a diagnosis is not the totality of who he was. As a way to define himself in a new way, Jackie got creative – he grew out his hair and bought beads to loop onto his ponytail. Now, when people see him he has something to talk about, something that defines him in a way he wants to be seen.

During the pandemic, Jackie’s been attending Thrive’s weekly Substance Use and Recovery classes. A close family member of his has a drug addition and Jackie attends the classes as a way to better understand the disease. He has also learned quite a bit, especially when it comes to understanding his emotions and dealing with his depression:

“I’m still emotional. The loss will be with me for the rest of my life,” but in recognizing his pain, Jackie has learned how to begin to move on in his journey.

Jackie will be buying a car soon. He says, “If you have a hope to succeed, then you can achieve it,” and for Jackie and so many other clients at Thrive, success is right around the corner. It can start with a simple cup of coffee.