Before coming to Odyssey my life was on a dark path of no return. I had been using heroin for 16 years straight. I was okay with a life that was going nowhere. I had the perfect life before I started using – home, family, job. I was never afraid of hard work, but that was also part of my problem. I would work to avoid my problems and it was easier for me to just do everything myself than to ask for help.

With Odyssey's Vocational Training Program I was able to put a lot of my skills back into use that I had quit using. I learned to get up and be on time, and to hold myself accountable because other people were relying on me. I learned that asking for help when needed got me a lot farther than trying to figure out how to get everything done by myself. I learned that having self-respect and the respect of others gets you a lot farther than just doing whatever you want.

I owe a lot of what I have gained in Odyssey House's Adult Inpatient Vocational Training Program and to the people who run it. Odyssey House saved my life. I will never be able to repay the people who had faith in me, even when I didn’t have faith in myself.

It's about who we are now.

"I struggled in treatment. I had many behavioral problems that I didn't realize were part of my substance use disorder. The way I function today is due to having to wake up early in the morning, make my bed, clean my room, go to work for eight hours, and sit in group at night.

I got accepted to the BSW program, I graduate this May with my bachelors. I was accepted to into grad school at the University of U for the advanced standing program. It has been the roughest year, but my worst days now is nothing compared to how dark it was in my substance use.

Yes, I did those things, but now I'm this... a college graduate, a daughter.
Odyssey House to me, means my life. I was lost and didn't know who is was, what direction I was going in, if I wanted to live, if I wanted to die. Treatment changes lives, it changes families lives. It inspires people, they inspire me, I inspire them. We all work together, so it not about what we once where. It's about who we are NOW." - Jessica

Paying it Forward.

"I had done everything my way for so long and it wasn't working. I was so broken and tired of the crap from outside and constantly losing, that I was willing to do whatever it took.

I have talked with some of these staff members and seen that they have been through similar situations. To see where they are at now, it helped me to lower my pride and be able to surrender to them because they've been through what I've been through and they've gotten through it. I feel that they are not just doing there job, I feel like they actually genuinely care. Seeing them do that with me, has made me care about the new person.

I guess 'Pay it Forward,' that has made a huge difference in my treatment here. The cool thing is, is that I see the progress I've made. It makes me want to keep going. Taking what I'm learning here and applying it to my family and being a father to my son, has made a huge difference." - Zach

I want to tell you how Odyssey House and Martindale Clinic has helped me recover from my addiction to heroin, and start to feel healthy for the first time in years.

I entered treatment at Odyssey House’s Adult Residential Program in January of 2013, and I was a mess. My whole life was falling apart, but I couldn’t stop craving my drug of choice. After talking to my case manager about a bunch of my health problems, she referred me to the Martindale Medical Clinic. Dr. A and his staff started treating me for some problems that made it hard for me to concentrate in group. I also couldn’t sleep at night. I started getting Vivitrol shots to help me with my cravings for heroin, and the staff gave me lots of other good care that really helped me start to feel better.

A year later, I was successful in completing my Vivitrol treatments, and so happy to be free of my drug cravings! I could focus on the hard work I had to do in Rehab to change all the bad stuff I did in my life for so many years. This spring, I finally graduated from treatment! I’ve never worked so hard for anything, and never been so proud of myself.

My case manager referred me to Odyssey’s Sober Housing Program, where I live now. I have a job, and I’m staying clean and hanging out with the friends I met at Odyssey. I still go to the Clinic, and that’s what I’m going to keep doing. Every time I’m there they show they care about me--I really love Dr. A and the nurses. They’re awesome! 

- Adult Residential Client

I want to support Odyssey House in every way that I can. Odyssey House saved my life, literally! But it did so much more than that. It taught me to, #1 be accountable for my actions. Self-accountability is contagious. When you own your actions, others own theirs. This has helped me excel in my career path. I hold myself accountable for everything, and I expect my colleagues to do the same.

I could go on and on about what Odyssey has done for me, but what I wanted my main point to be is this; Odyssey House benefited me far beyond getting me sober and reunited with my family, which obviously is the most important thing, but it also helped me in areas of my life that I would have never dreamed that it could the day I walked in the front door of the Adult House. I am a better person, employee, son, father, brother, member of the community, etc., because Odyssey helped me remember who I’ve always wanted to be and taught me how to become that person. I lost sight of that for a while (6 years), and Odyssey gave it back!

I appreciate all that you all do. Thank you.

- Adult and Father with Children Graduate

I had a son graduate the Teen rehab program in 2006 and he benefited greatly from the program. He remained sober for 2 years after graduating treatment, but was killed in a hit and run auto/pedestrian accident in 2008. Brian requested SF event sponsorship info, which I sent.  I have a strong desire to support OH, and a belief that this program saves lives. Odyssey House gave back our son as a changed person for which we are forever grateful.

- Parent of Teen Residential Client

Parent Thank You

I am writing you to let you know just how much I appreciate Odyssey House’s Tuesday night Family Group Therapy sessions.  This weekly group has become my life-line in coping and learning about my daughter’s addictions.  

Albert Ochoa goes above and beyond to help each and every one of us in that group.  The energy each Tuesday is incredible and heals my soul so that I can continue on this journey in supporting my daughter.  Albert’s presence and participation is responsible for much of this positive energy that propels this group into understanding our addict child.  I am forever grateful for Albert. 

 I will do whatever it takes to support Odyssey House and Albert’s Family Group.  I felt it necessary to write you and let you know how one parent feels – eternally grateful.  Please let me know if you need an extra volunteer or any help in sustaining this program.  I am here and will do what I can to help where I can.

Medical Clinic Patient Thank You

I have had such an amazing experience at Martindale Clinic. I truly appreciate the staff, nurses, and doctors that took my case. It is a huge relapse trigger for me to be sick and not have anyone believe my symptoms. Not only did Martindale Clinic take the time to treat and listen to me, they took the time to help me get a diagnosis: Pancreatitis. I feel truly cared for, treated and safe at Martindale Clinic. I will be a patient forever.

The Martindale Clinic has helped me and my son in so many ways. I find so much comfort in going to a clinic who understands addiction. They also are very understanding and compassionate to the needs of my son. They take time to explain what they are doing with shots, procedures, exams, etc. They are very reliable and helpful to explain ways I can help my son and with nutrition. I feel the Martindale Clinic is an amazing outlet for this community. When I was struggling with eating and stress they were able to help me get back on track and find ways to be more active and eat healthy. When my son struggled with anxiety and missing school, they helped me with the tools to help support him. Thank you so much!

- D. E.

Kevin W. and his 3 little ones (Chazz 6, Jesse 8, Amberleana 3) are a loving, healthy family today because of Odyssey’s Fathers with Children Program. Today, Kevin is free from drugs and alcohol, gaining tools to maintain his sobriety, and learning skills to be a caring, responsible father. Chazz, Jesse, and Amberleana receive daily therapeutic care through Odyssey’s Children’s Services Center, and they all live together in the our Fathers with Children residence.

Kevin says, “I am sure that if I had been elsewhere at the time, I don’t think I would have made it. Now I am transitioning back into society. I feel very good about my chances of staying sober and I have no doubt that I owe my chances to being here.”

Parent Thank You

My son is currently a client at Outpatient who is working to regain custody of his kids due to his and his wife's drug use. I credit Odyssey House with saving his life, and the program at Outpatient with helping him on his goal to reunite with his children, who currently are in foster care.

Although he relapsed for several months, he was able to use the skills he learned at Odyssey House to get back on track. My son recently told me he had informed a friend from his past that he could no longer associate with him because the relationship was destructive to his sobriety. I have never seen him do this before and I am very grateful.

- Parent of Outpatient Client

Vocational Training Client

Before I came into the Odyssey Program, I did not have ANY kind of work experience. I have been in Odyssey House for 18 months, and I have learned a lot. I was lucky to be a part of the PIVT Vocational Training Program in Adult Residential. It is a good opportunity for people to learn and experience how to be responsible and function in everyday life.

I was in the PIVT program for a year and I am currently working with the same employer I was placed with. The PIVT work that I did was plumbing. I have been learning this trade for over a year and still learning to this day. Plumbing is the trade that I have been taught and it is the career that I want to pursue. My plan for after Odyssey House is to continue to do plumbing and be successful at it. I want to build a solid career out of the skills that I have learned. I want to thank Odyssey for the opportunity that I have been given. Because of PIVT, my future is far better than I could have ever imagined.

On June 26th 2015, I moved into the Mother's with Children Program at Odyssey House. After battling drugs and alcohol for over 20 years and hitting rock bottom multiple times, I just couldn’t fight anymore. My mom was threatening to take my kids away and kick me out which would leave me homeless. Even though I put my kids in some really bad situations, including using while pregnant, they mean the world to me and I would do anything for them, their dad was already gone.

My daughter, had just turned 4 when we moved in. She was still using a bottle, most of her life she slept in the same bed as me, no one could understand what she was saying except me, and she had attachment issues, and had seen more in her short 4 years then most adults had. I was clean when I got pregnant with her and stayed clean, I used tramadol and Lortabs towards the end of my pregnancy but not in excess. I breast feed until she was 1 but I started using Percocet’s, Lortab, OxyContin, oxycodone and suboxone.

My youngest daughter had just turned 1 when we moved in. She wasn’t walking, was on a bottle, had major attachment issues, and was extremely shy and reserved. I was a full blown opioid addict when I found out I was pregnant and told myself every day that I would quit but never had the strength to. Between already having morning sickness my entire pregnancy being dope sick was not something I could handle. I quit smoking cigarettes when I found out I was pregnant but started again when I was about 5-6 months. I was also bulimic. She weighed 6lbs 8 oz. when she was born and was going through withdrawals. I tried to breast feed but she couldn’t latch on, she lost over a pound while we were in the hospital she weighed barely 5 lbs. when I took her home. She was so tiny and weak.

I was a wreck, I was on a 300 mg. Oxycodone a day and whatever else I could get at the time. I had been fired, was about to lose my car, and no money. I had been stealing thousands of dollars from my mom, opened credit cards in my daughters names, stole drugs and money from my stepdad. I would do whatever I could to not be dope sick. I was irritable and mean.

Moving into Odyssey House was the hardest thing I had ever done. Taking my kids to Children Services on their first day was scary but also calming. The first few weeks dropping them off, 1 or both would cry and I would have to just walk out. We had a lot of work to do. My oldest was given a kindergarten readiness test the first week she tested at 30-40%. I meet with our family therapist who was also my oldest's personal therapist and we started work. Within a month my 1 year old was walking and my oldest was at 75% on the kindergarten readiness test.

Within the first couple of months my 4 year old was off the bottle, slept in her own bed, loved going to school, had no problem with me leaving, and her language and speech had significantly improved. My youngest was also off the bottle, slept in her own bed, started walking, but we still needed to work on her attachment. Which we did.

We moved out of the residential program and into an apartment in sober housing Dec. 4th 2015. The girls improved even more after we moved out. When I started working in February I was able to keep them enrolled in Odyssey's therapeutic daycare which was a dream come true. We all have made such improvements in the last year. My oldest is outgoing, strong, and extremely smart she is getting ready to start kindergarten and is beyond ready. She can write her name, the alphabet and numbers. My baby is independent, strong-willed, and smart. Watching her personality develop over the last year has been one of the greatest gifts a mother could receive.  She is talking, using sentences, is potty training, and is quite the little helper.

My sobriety and the girls healing could not have been done without Children's Services. The teachers care for all the children and work so hard for them. The therapist have great tools and are willing to show anyone, anything to help the children.

- Mothers with Children Residential and Sober Housing Client

Vocational Training Program Participant

I started at Odyssey House in April of 2009, after going to four other programs that did not work for me. I have enjoyed the Odyssey program process. I have finally realized all of my issues that brought me to drinking and abusing drugs. I was very worried when my funding ran out because this was the first time in my life that I was very motivated to get myself straight and sober.

My case manager told me about the Adult Residential PIVT Program and at the end of August, I was given a placement. When I first started working, I was a little lost because I was unsure how a company would accept someone in a treatment program. I have never had a problem using on the job, but I would seek out people that did use after work. To my surprise, I had no urges or even wanted to use.

Everyone accepted me for who I am, and respected my situation that I was in treatment. I know that being in PIVT has helped me tremendously with all of my issues, including getting my work ethic back. I feel that PIVT is a good program. There is a lot of temptations and a person has to be invested in treatment to know their issues and have the tools to deal with all situations as they arise.

Medical Clinic Patient Thank You

I am a patient of Martindale Clinic and have been for at least 2 years. I would like to let you know what wonderful doctors and staff you have; each time I have been to the clinic they have always been kind and professional. I would especially like to tell you that Dr. Arbogast is fantastic.  Although he is very busy he does not rush through my visits with him and he takes the time to answer all my questions. I started off with severe anxiety and depression, my sessions with him have proven I can manage my mental health without the use of habit forming medications. Also, my blood pressure has decreased by following the instructions of the staff to increase my exercise and decrease poor eating habits.

I feel confident in my abilities to take my medication. I understand a non-profit business is always busy and stressful, but the staff is always professional. I have been pleasantly surprised by the clinic; I don’t think you could pay me to go to another clinic or doctor.

- Clinic Patient

I wanted to take a few moments to thank you for allowing Albert Ochoa to lead and facilitate the Family Support group on Tuesday at Odyssey House. I can’t begin to tell you what a support and help that Albert has been not only to my wife and I, but also to the other members of the group that attend each Tuesday.

Albert has established a place or trust, love and support during these meetings that I have rarely seen or been a part of over my lifetime. I am amazed how quickly Albert is able to establish a trusting and loving relationship with the people that come in to the group. It is a rare skill that he possesses that allows other people, in crisis, to be able to feel secure and accepted which allows them to openly discuss the problems and issues that they are facing with their loved ones. Many of us come in to the meeting with heavy or even broken hearts dealing with a loved one that is allowing their lives to be destroyed by addiction. Albert helps us navigate our feelings and provides support in guidance as we find our solutions to these situations together under his leadership.

I am also astonished by Albert’s willingness to help us and our loved ones. Albert has, on his own time, reached out to our son and actually spent time supporting him both over the phone and supporting him in the courtroom. I have never experienced someone that is driven by the sole reason of helping others in such a charitable and kind fashion.

Thank you for allowing Albert to lead this group each Tuesday. He, and Odyssey House, are really helping people cope with one of life’s most difficult situations and is integral in helping us improve our lives and outlook with his help, support and loving guidance.

- Family and Support Group Participant