Read on about how past participants have benefited from our services!

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Jason's story

How has BTC impacted your recovery?

Bridges to change helped with giving me direction directly out of jail and support the whole journey back into early recovery. Without the help of our mentors, peers, counselors, and the rest of the BTC staff I would’ve been totally lost, would’ve had zero structure, and would’ve gave up on myself. I didn’t have to the pathway that was paved for me on arrival.

What was the most significant change you experienced while completing services with BTC?

The most significant change for myself I feel like was learning my new way of life. I knew one way for a very long time and that was difficult to veer away from. Criminal thinking and totally thinking like an addict in active addiction.

What would you want others to know about BTC?

Bridges to change through the program made us as clients set goals, very realistic, very achievable goals. Without the help of setting goals, I probably wouldn’t have ever thought about goals. My mission was to get clean, stay out of institutions, and keep my parole officer off my back. Let me tell you, every single goal I’ve made since bridges to change and even goals there after I’ve accomplished every last one of them. One of the goals I set was getting my children in my life, seeing them, supporting them, and growing with them. Not only have I done that I’m now a single dad of my youngest and that’s now my new biggest accomplishment would be getting custody of my little guy right there in the picture, and to never give up. Even when you start feeling hopeless that you’ve done all that you can achieve. It’s not the end, it’s how hard you work for what you want!

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Nathan's story

My recovery began in September 2018 when I got lost in the Mt Hood national forest. I was rescued by Clackamas county after almost 14 days of being lost. I was placed at OSH in Salem until I got better.  I entered the Clackamas county Mental Health court in January of 2019. I was placed in a Bridges to Change house known as the Haven house. I was encouraged to go attend recovery meetings as a stipulation of living in the house. The mentors there Alex, Jeff and Wayne and a lot of suport from Shannon and Jason. They all were so amazing in helping me in my early recovery.

I was not quite convinced I had a drug or alcohol problem in the beginning but some of my house mates there convinced me to go to a palace called 4D to play a game of pool. Not knowing what 4D was being as I was from the state of Maine, I went. Next thing I knew I was in an AA meeting and the nurse who helped me get better at OSH in Salem was running the meeting. By the end of the meeting, I was so overcome with emotion and knew I was an addict, so I asked for help finding a sponsor. I quickly started working the steps with my new sponsor. The meeting was at 8pm and the curfew of the house at the time was 9pm. I took the bus so BTC gave me permission to extend my curfew on Fridays for that meeting and I always brought back a signed slip from it. That was one of my first times building trust with anyone in recovery.

A few months later I wanted to start having some independence and pay rent as the haven house is transitional living and rent free. I moved into the Hill St house in Milwaukie and the house manager Glen “Preston” was so amazing. I was scared of being a gay man in a house full of straight Men. The guys there were so nice to me. I could not have asked for better house mates. My house manager was always there and supportive of me. I made so many solid friendships with some great people in that house that I still have today. My house manger took me under his wing and mentored me. His story of strength and hope is why I worked hard in my recovery to want to be a house manager for BTC myself. I thought someone like me was worth nothing and had no future but after the people I have got to know in BTC and my former house manager, I began to come to believe I was not a bad person, I have worth, and I can help others.

I graduated CCMHC in January 2020 and had a solid year sober in recovery that with UA’s I could prove. I had finished my 12 steps and was sponsoring others in AA. I asked staff to let me know if there were any job opportunities as a house manager with BTC. In December, Hannah told me about a HM position in partnership with Quest for the LGBTQIA2S+ community. I quickly filled out the application and went through the process and interviews and got the job. I started work December 18th of that year. I continue to work a strong recovery and work with my sponsor who I still call almost every day. I maintain mental wellness through NARA. I sponsor others in AA and with the support of BTC, I can continue to grow learn and be the me I always wanted to be. I am so grateful to this program and all it has to offer. I never knew that such an amazing thing would happen to me here in Oregon. A truly traumatic situation on Mt. Hood was the best thing to ever happen to me.

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Steven's story

When I came to this program, I was broken, afraid, unemployed, homeless, and had just spent a week in medically-assisted detox. I had been to traditional inpatient treatment before. This time I felt that I needed to do something different.

Although I didn’t quite realize it at the time (especially in the midst of post-acute withdrawal), I now believe that what I needed was a place to begin to learn how to live as a responsible, mature, sane human being…………….instead of the terrified, broken, self-hating, and self-destructive addict I had become. I needed a place that would allow me to begin the lifelong process of learning how to balance my recovery with the need to function in the real world as an adult. And, somewhat more importantly for me, a safe place to practice the new skills I was learning.

This program gave me what I needed: a safe, clean, supportive, and rent-free house in the community to live in; intensive outpatient treatment to give me insight into my path of addiction; structure, accountability, and routine; compassionate counseling to address my deeper issues; peer support; exposure to Portland’s large recovery community; and other things too numerous to name here.

But as I stated earlier, I believe that one of the most important things this program gave me was a supportive environment in which to practice the skills I was learning-and would ultimately need-in order to be successful after completing treatment. And through that process, I gained perhaps the most important thing of all: the hope that I really could change my life, and the self-confidence gained from actually changing my life.


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Dawn's story

My name is Dawn… I’m an addict in recovery coming back from a relapse. This program has saved my life. Now the rest depends on me and the work I put into my recovery.  I say this because it’s given me new skills and helped me refine the ones I already had… Bridges taught me new ways to put them into practice. The hardest part for me was the MRT book. It was the digging and feeling, but with that came a lot of growth and last, finally a weight lifted off of my shoulders. Also learned about wise-mind and emotional regulation. The hardest for me yet the only reason I’m still here and graduating is ‘radical acceptance’.  One of the hardest things to look at and live through. Remembering the past is the past… The things I’ve put loved ones through can’t be changed but only build a better future. So many things that I had learned but never refined them. Bridges taught me some new techniques to refine and a new way to look at them differently, but a way I now understand. The counselors and mentors actually believed in me. I think I threw this program for a loop. My situation is one of a kind and Bridges went with the flow and yet taught me how to be in the situation… “LIFE ON LIFE’S TERMS”  Through my ups and downs no one has given up on me. In the beginning with the accountability, it taught me how to use INTEGRITY… Today I’m given the chance at a new way of life because the passion that was given to me. There are no words to say the impact Bridges had on me. Bridges gave me a new bridge to build on and become something bigger. A new bridge to cross and always remember to never cross back. I’ve learned through this program to work to get what I want and not give up… Even when it seemed like there was no hope to just “ride the wave”.

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Paul's story

My name is Paul and today I am a free man. That wasn’t always the case, I found myself in trouble with the law and hooked on meth. This landed me in Prison. The judge was easy on me and sent me to Columbia River and then South Fork. I had a lot of time to think while incarcerated and knew that I needed to change my ways. In the weeks before my release I had a lot of fear. I was afraid that I would pick up my old habits, run into my old connections, and end up in prison again. Thankfully my PO released me to the care of Bridges to Change. It was here where I was able to get reintegrated into society and become a functioning member of the community.

I wasn’t able to do this on my own. Upon my arrival I felt lost and unsure of what the next step should be. Having just been released from prison I didn’t have much. Thankfully I was introduced to Doug  and Jim. Under Doug’s supervision Jim became my mentor. He helped me look for work and provided the moral support and encouragement I needed to get my feet on the ground. Things were slow at first. But after two months I had found steady employment. I also found a host of new friends at New Life Church through their program Celebrate Recovery. Here I became firmly grounded in my sobriety and today have a powerful connection with a God of my understanding. I am still an active member there and eagerly look forward to our meeting each week and feel blessed every time I attend. I am so thankful for the support of Bridges and the fellowships that they introduced me to. I could not have done this on my own and I encourage any one who earnestly desires to change to attend Celebrate Recovery at New Life Church. It saved my life, it gave me a New Life.

Gratefully blessed,

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Dustie's story

I am writing this letter to thank you for all the help and encouragement I have received from the Bridges to Change program. It has made a big impact on my life, and has guided me to a place where I feel for the first time in a long time is a great place to be. I graduated from Nara residential drug treatment on December 14th with no clue as to what my next step was and was then referred to Crystal Cooper by my probation officer Jaree Spatz. From the first moment I met Crystal she made it clear that all she wanted to do was help, and that she made no judgment of me or my situation. She was like a breath of fresh air that I needed to rebuild my life. Never once did she hesitate when I asked for a ride to the food stamp office, or grocery store. She took me to meetings, and to get my driver’s permit, and drove me from place to place for job search. I am now the Sales Coordinator for the Marriott Spring Hill Suites in Hillsboro thanks to Crystal for she’s the one who gave me the ride that day I applied for the job.

I will never forget what Crystal has done for me. She is a wonderful person and a woman of her word and I will forever hold her in high esteem. I am lucky to have walked beside her because she truly is an angel on earth as she has touched my life.


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Julie's story

Julie read this poem at her graduation:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We are used to failing and terrified of succeeding. It is our light not our darkness that frightens us most. We ask ourselves “Who am I to be? Brilliant, fabulous, or talented?” I’m just me, but actually who are you not to be? Your minimizing yourself does not serve the world. In fact it robs the world of your light. We are all meant to shine, it’s in every one of us. I would like to thank my family for helping me find my light again and to Terry and all my friends for helping and reminding me in hard times not to flip the switch. Thank You.”

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Ken's story

At his graduation, Ken told this story:

“I was out jogging early one morning. So early it was just me and the raccoons out. It was one of those times that I was telling myself how worthless I was as a person. As I passed in front of West Linn High School, I found a quarter in the street. When I picked it up it looked like every set of studded tires in Oregon had run over it. It was old, dirty and beat-up. Kind of like I was feeling. As I ran along thinking about my quarter, I realized it was still worth 25 cents. It was worth exactly the same as bright, new, freshly minted quarter. Bridges to Change has helped me see myself the same way; I have value as a person. I can make something positive of my life.”