For June 2022, Fellowship RCO would like to recognize

Riley Wallace

My name is Riley and my clean date is July 23, 2019. A date I will never forget because that is the date I started to be my true self. It was the day my life began.
3 years ago I was lost, hopeless, and ready to die. I reached a point in my life where I felt that there was nothing left in this world, not only for a drug addict, but a trans-female, and believe it or not I did attempt to get clean a few times before this very important date but it was to no avail.
I was one of the largest barriers for myself to get clean. I stood in the way; making excuses when in fact I was the one not willing to give recovery a try.
There were recovery centers that turned me away. I couldn’t believe it. There I was, someone trying to get clean, and these places that specialize in recovery threw me away because I’m Transgender. I think and feel it was because they didn’t know how to help me with appropriate placement, and some were just nasty in general because of certain prejudices of who I am. One place threw me out in the middle of the night with no where to go, nor did they care where I went. These people reinforced to me how I was already feeling about myself, and did not facilitate any sense of hope that I could recover, or even deserved recovery.
Another night on the streets brought me to my knees. Praying and begging to whoever might be listening to send me help, my prayers were answered when Maite showed up in my life. She was an advocate for people like me and offered to help me. She was my guardian angel. She stayed with me all day and fought hard to help me get the proper treatment I deserved, and place to stay so I wouldn’t be homeless anymore.
Maite reached out to Fellowship Recovery Community Organization, and secured a bed for me at Respite. Fellowship RCO not only helped me when I didn’t have a penny to my name, they also respected who I was as a person. I prayed for help and it finally came.
Fellowship RCO gave me a chance, and made me feel like my life had purpose again. I’m truly grateful they did because if not I may not be here today. They asked if I wanted to stay at the Women’s Recovery Residence, and treated me like the woman I am. They provided me with hope, support, life-long friendships, and family and loved me hard. Loved me so hard until I could love myself.
I was given a ton of resources for jobs hiring around the area, meetings around the house while I had no means of transportation. Also, the staff were so positive and uplifting, which was a huge bonus for me when I was feeling down or defeated.
I eventually was given the opportunity to become a women’s House Manager, and was able to be a woman in recovery who could mentor, help and support other women starting their recovery journey. I never thought it would be possible to live in a world where people would see me as I saw myself, respect me, let alone depend on me to lead the way. Fellowship gave me a place to thrive in, and they gave me the confidence to start setting other goals for myself.
One of my first goals and biggest challenges were to re-establish a relationship with my family again. I lost touch with them when I was using because every time anyone heard from me was when I wanted or needed money for drugs.

Once I had been clean for a substantial amount of time my Mom was the first person to call, and with the help of a sponsor it became possible. I worked my steps, and started seeing my character defects surface. With the help of my peers in the program, and my sponsor I was able to focus on them to try to calm them down or get rid of them completely. It made me a more pleasant person to be around and to talk with. It allowed me to stand on my own two feet. After about a year and a half clean, I was able to save money to fly myself back to Pennsylvania, and was now an employable person , which helped me immediately find a job. I was using the tools, and the knowledge from the N.A. program to remain employable, and knowing when to leave a place if it no longer helped me stay clean. I started saving money for a car and within a half of a year of being home was able to purchase a vehicle. This was a huge accomplishment for me because it was something I was not able to do for 6-7 years prior because every dime I had was used to feed my addiction.

After purchasing the car, I started saving money for an apartment. These are things I would have never imagined I could do.
Getting clean, and staying clean is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself and others around me. Now with just about 3 years clean, I stay vigilant to my program so I can remain strong in my recovery. I am able to be a woman that I am proud of today, which when I was using I never thought I would see happen. I not only am able to set goals for myself, but I actually get to see them come into fruition.
I owe everything I have to the N.A. program, and Fellowship for giving me my life back. I am amazed by how much I’ve gained because somebody finally gave me a chance. I am grateful to the people who came into my life and showed me that I too deserved recovery just like every body else. Substance use disorders do not discriminate and neither should recovery.
I am humbled by the continuous support I have from my Fellowship family and friends and I am lucky to be alive today so I can share my experience, strength and hope with you. If you stick, stay, quiet yourself, listen to the suggestions, and take those suggestions you can turn your life around as I have done for myself. Believe me; if I can do it, so can any of you.
Thank you all for listening, and also thanks for never giving up on me. I love N.A., Fellowship RCO, and my life today. Stay vigilant everyone, and take it one day at a time.
             Sincerely yours, 
                        Riley Wallace