National Addictions Awareness Week: Sherri’s Story

Just over a year ago, Sherri was celebrating 100 days of sobriety. She was overjoyed that she had hit the three-digit mark. An addict for 17 years, Sherri believes that without the support of Homes First she would still be using or dead.

“This is the cleanest I’ve been in 10 years … I got clean here at Homes First.”

Sherri’s journey through homelessness began four years ago, when she lost her home and moved to Brampton with her boyfriend at the time, who was also an addict. After falling behind on their rent, the couple were evicted. They moved around, going from Brampton to Mississauga to Burlington and eventually Niagara Falls. They stayed in Niagara for a few months before Sherri moved to Toronto, alone.

In Toronto, Sherri moved from respite to respite before settling into Homes First’s Bathurst-Lake Shore shelter. It was in Bathurst-Lake Shore where an incident with her boyfriend gave Sherri the wake-up call she needed to get clean. The next day she threw away all her pipes and quit cold turkey.

“I hate to say this but I ended up attacking him. I woke up one morning and said enough was enough.”

It was difficult for Sherri to stay clean, since there were other users in the shelter. With help from the staff and her Intensive Case Management team, Sherri worked her way through the detox period and began counselling.

Shortly after meeting Sherri last year, she left Bathurst Lake Shore shelter and moved into an apartment in Etobicoke. A year later she’s still housed with her boyfriend, who she praises for supporting her so much, and still in touch with staff at Bathurst Lake Shore, who continue to support her through tough times.

“I’ll be honest. I’ve had one slip up. I balanced myself out very quickly, and that is the only time I’ve used since I left the shelter, but I’ve been back on the wagon for a little while now.”

Despite her slip-up and chronic arthritis pain, Sherri is still working towards her goals. She’s looking into schooling to support others who are living with addiction, and recently connected with her son after not speaking for two years.

“The staff have been unbelievable. Staff have been behind me 100 percent since day one. Thank you 100 per cent to Homes First for everything they’ve done for me.”

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Housing first is part of the solution to ending chronic homelessness.

Homes First Administration Office, 90 Shuter Street, Suite 206, Toronto, ON M5B 2K6
Phone: 416-214-1870 Fax: 416-214-1873

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