On August 23rd, 2011, a man stood at the gas station parking lot across from Lazarus House, the Affordable Housing Community building where men and women live in recovery at Samaritan Inns. This man stood with only a bag to his name. He stood without a home. He stood, having relapsed into addictions he had once overcome.
For how long he stood there, looking across the street at Lazarus House, no one knows. But Faustino remembered he was about to turn away. Turn his back on Samaritan Inns and his recovery, again.
It was at that deciding moment that the ground began to shake.
Recovery is difficult. Without a proper support network, expert treatment, and a loving home; it is nigh on impossible. Samaritan Inns works with men and women who struggle with addictions every single day. Many of the staff are in recovery themselves. They know first-hand the difficulties their clients face.
They also know it is possible to overcome. But every journey is different.
Faustino grew up in Washington DC. He remembers his father telling him to “Do well in school so you can get us out of poverty.” Faustino believed he could help his family. He dedicated himself to his studies and was accepted into Penn State University. But it was there that his life took a very different turn from committed studies and hopeful expectations.
“From the moment I woke up, to the moment I went to sleep, I was in constant turmoil,” Faustino said.
He partied heavily and was diagnosed by a doctor as manic depressive. He prayed to God, “please let me be relieved of my life. Take me away!”
Faustino’s relief came at Samaritan Inns, where he started in the 28-day Adult Treatment Program. After successful completion, he practiced living out a recovery lifestyle and maintained employment in the Transitional Living Program. After six months in transition he continued to reinforce his recovery while living in the Affordable Housing Communities Program at Lazarus house.
All of the treatment and recovery programs at Samaritan Inns are designed with a holistic approach. They are designed not only with best-practice methods and expertise, but are built upon the foundation of loving respect and accountability. A home needs to be so much more than just a roof over one’s head. At Samaritan Inns, the residents and staff living in these homes are family.
Faustino attended every meeting during his stay at Samaritan Inns. He respected his suite mates and they all held each other accountable. Even to those closest to him, Faustino appeared well, but on the inside his depression grew.
Instead of opening up and seeking help, Faustino instead arranged a trip to Atlantic City with a few of his family members to celebrate his sobriety. But when his family returned to DC, Faustino did not.
Back at Samaritan Inns, the staff and residents who had grown to know and love Faustino during his stay grew more and more worried about both his sobriety and his safety. They could not find him. Faustino, a member of the Samaritan Inns’ family, was lost.
On August 23rd, 2011, the day the ground shook, Lynette Daniels, the Transitional Living Program Director at Samaritan Inns, rushed outside of Lazarus House with the other staff and residents. While attempting to navigate the chaos of an earthquake, Lynette’s attention was drawn to a figure crouching in the parking lot of the gas station across the street.
Who was once lost, now is found.
The relapsed Faustino, who was about to turn his back on Samaritan Inns and his recovery, was found. A more serendipitous earthquake, there has never been. Not for Faustino. He re-entered a 28-day recovery program and returned to the path of recovery. Just three months later, Faustino began dating the woman who would later become his wife.
Today, Faustino is a Junior Pre-Med student at Columbia University. In addition to being a full time student in New York City, he catches the bus back to DC every weekend where he works part time as a project manager for CR Calderon, a general contractor in College Park, Maryland.
Despite the packed schedule and a lot of all-nighters, Faustino still makes time to be with his wife and their two-year-old son. Compared to his days of untreated depression and addictions, Faustino is grateful to be busy on a better path.