Kyle uses his struggles to help others like him

Substance abuse and addiction are among the most challenging life conditions one can overcome. Unless you are recovering yourself, it is impossible to truly understand all that addiction is and causes – not only in the addict’s life, but everything that they touch. And “getting over it” is a life-time battle that takes a lot of grit, support from a larger community and the ability to completely give up trying to control everything in your life. Long-term substance abuse too often leads to prison and/or an early death. This was the case for Kyle, whom Outreach Supervisor Darren Strunk met six years ago through SJW’s outreach with partner, Crossroads. In Kyle’s own words, this is his struggle, and this is his triumph –  with a little help from SJW when he was finally ready.

“My name is Kyle Summers and I have struggled with drug addiction for most of my life. I started using drugs at the age of 12 and was incarcerated by the age of 14. I have done a total of 8 years incarcerated, all stemming from my substance abuse and the behaviors that followed. I would steal from my family’s purse or wallet and leave for weeks on end during my adolescent years. I was a volatile, inconsiderate, selfish monster and ruined everything I came in contact with. I was expelled from every school I attended and self-destructed every relationship I would pursue. I went to prison for the first time for armed robbery at the age of 19. Every time I was released, I had plans to be sober and live a happy, fulfilled life. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t stop using drugs no matter what the consequences.

Last time I was incarcerated, I had a moment of clarity that I just didn’t want to continue this life of misery and depression. I decided to “program” in prison and created a fellowship grounded in God and 12 steps. I had lost all of my family relationships and trust. So, when I was released from prison, I had no resources and help from family was limited. St. Joseph the Worker came to the halfway house I was residing in. They helped me find employment and gave me work clothes. I have since gone back to school for a degree in substance abuse and mental health so I can give back to the community. I genuinely love helping people overcome addiction and the struggles attached to that lifestyle. I have become a therapist at a treatment center called Purpose Healing center in Scottsdale, and I get to live my dream of helping people achieve their goals. It all started with St. Joseph the Worker meeting me where I was, and helping me overcome my barriers. For that, I am forever grateful.”

It is only with the support and generosity of our community that SJW can continue to break down barriers to employment and provide the hand up that helps challenged individuals become self-sufficient through employment. We thank you for your enduring support and look forward to continuing to create better and stronger individuals, communities and our economy, by “Transforming Lives through Employment.”