Ricardo Gonzalez puts his decision to seek treatment for Substance Use Disorder this way: “I got tired of being incarcerated in my mind,” he said recently.
Ricardo used to visit the warming center at the YNHS Homeless Services building for a change of clothes or cup of noodles. He was quiet, shy and that’s what Case Manager Veronica Castaneda noticed. She decided to slowly get to know him, sensing he wanted help.
Veronica and her teammates on the outreach team have been trained in an evidence-based practice used to identify problem use and abuse of alcohol and illicit drugs called Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT). She knew how to approach Ricardo, who is 51, about whether he wanted to seek treatment.
Though he had been through treatment on five separate occasions over the years, Ricardo said something was different this time. “I realized I really wanted it this time. I was tired of drinking. I was getting a lot of support from my family and my father; in particular, I wanted to do it for Mom and Dad.”
But he knows he had to do it for himself. Case Manager Frank Ramirez said Ricardo had already decided he was ready for treatment when he agreed to enter the James Oldman Treatment Center, a residential facility for men in Buena.
“He made the decision on his own and it was cool to see him take ownership. It’s much easier that way,” said Frank.
Ricardo completed treatment and still does his “homework” every day to stay sober and out of trouble. He hopes to get a small apartment and a job with help from the outreach team at YNHS. “I never asked for help until now, and they’re here to help however they can.”
And Ricardo now has enough confidence in himself to say his sixth time in treatment will be his last: “This one is in my head.”