Because of the Clubhouse, my life has changed in many positive ways. If it weren’t for the Clubhouse, I don’t know what I’d be doing with my time. My Clubhouse has helped me lead a meaningful and productive life. I don’t struggle with anxiety and depression and I have gained more confidence. The Clubhouse has also been an outlet for practicing kindness and compassion with others. As far as my hopes and dreams go, I am certain I would like to return to monastic life. But in the meantime, I have my friends at the Clubhouse for support; and I am able to give back to others through my involvement at the Clubhouse.
I turned to drugs and alcohol at a young age after being assaulted by a child predator. I felt as though this was my only escape. I was diagnosed later with schizophrenia and have been living with the illness for many years.
Before Venture House I felt like I was alone. My life was characterized by isolation, substance abuse and hospitalization. But at Venture House I am a part of a community and have many things in common with my fellow members. Since I joined Venture House I feel more in control of my disability. I take medications daily and along with other supports in my life I am able to keep my mental illness in check. Since joining Venture House I have not been in the hospital and I have remained clean and sober.
When I come to Venture House and interact with staff and members I feel good about myself. When I first joined Venture House I had no idea what to expect. I was surprised when all of the members greeted and welcomed me. It felt like I belonged and it felt great!
Venture House has helped me return to the workforce. After participating in the Clubhouse work day for a couple of years, I got a Transitional Employment job, which was the first time I worked in 15 years. Venture House gave me a chance when others would not. Today I am proud to say that I am employed by New York State and am presently in line for a promotion.
Many of the members of Venture House have become good friends of mine. If I can help them with their disabilities I will, because my goal is to give back to society instead of always taking.