September 8, 2006

I started using ASC's case management services in 2000. ASC's case management team kept a close watch on me; it was amazing how I advanced.

They counseled me, made sure my benefits were in place, and connected me with all kinds of services. They helped me stay on top of my medical care by talking to me extensively about taking care of myself and talking to my doctor. They even escorted me to my medical services—my case manager would pick me up at home and bring me to the doctor.

It was good to have that extra support from people I could relate to and trust. I participated in ASC's case management services for two-and-a-half years and stayed in medical care the whole time. I've continued seeing my doctor regularly to this day.

I also used many other ASC services, including the legal clinic, clothing room and food pantry. ASC's Creative Writing Workshop and recreational activities gave me somewhere to be and kept me from doing things I shouldn't have been doing. And always there were people at ASC I could talk with openly. There's a very large support network here.

In 2001, I participated in ASC's Peer Recovery Education Program (PREP), Harm Reduction Training, and other trainings. As an ASC Peer Educator, I did group presentations at drug treatment programs and SROs to spread the news about HIV and teach people how they could help themselves and get some control over their treatment.

In 2002, I had a brain aneurysm. So many people from ASC called me and wanted to know how I was doing and how they could help. It felt good to know there were so many people in my corner.

Today, I am an ASC Volunteer, working with ASC's Management Information System (MIS) Manager. I help maintain and update ASC's software, hardware, and wireless network. I'm very interested in computers and I'm studying to become a certified computer technician.

My experience with ASC has been so vast. ASC gave me a chance to see the difference between my true potential and what I call "the old world" of getting high, having unprotected sex, and doing things that stress body and mind. ASC gave me skills that help me cope, adapt, and remain focused on my health.

ASC is an organization of true grit.

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