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Home at Last: One Man’s Journey toward a Better Life

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare — December 15, 2020 — 3 min read
Charles Newsome thought about the way things used to be as he returned from the store and unloaded his groceries onto the counter and into his refrigerator. Two strings of Christmas lights sat on the counter – a project for later.

Newsome, 55, had dreamed of a time like this for nearly a decade. He would imagine what it would be like to have his own apartment when he was staying in homeless shelters, not knowing where he’d sleep the next night. In October, his dream came true.

Our Transitions to Community Living (TCL) program helped Newsome move into a place he can call home. TCL works with members who have mental health and substance use disorders and who may otherwise end up in adult care facilities or homeless. The TCL team has continued to move members into their own apartments throughout 2020 even with the pandemic, following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for safety.

The TCL team works closely with members and providers to ensure they have the services they need and are prepared to live on their own. Then the team finds a suitable apartment for the member.

“I’m glad to be where I’m at today,” Newsome said. “It’s such a blessing and a breath of fresh air. Life is so much better nowadays than it was. Tomorrow will be about a month or a month and a half. It’s been wonderful. The best part is being able to think my own thoughts without stressing and being able to breathe and relax and feel what’s going on.”
 

Newsome was born in Charlotte and grew up in the Pineville, N.C., area near Carowinds. He has bipolar disorder and has struggled with substance use.

“I would quit and go back. Quit and go back. Then it hit me that I was doing the same thing I’d been doing before. No matter how much money you’ve got, it’s going to take it from you,” he said.

Now he’s in recovery

Newsome said he likes steak and Coca-Cola, but with addiction you’d starve to death. You get so focused on the high that you ignore your basic needs, he said. 

“If I walked away with anything good from that experience, it’s how not to ever go back to doing it again. It’s what it took from me. It’s like live wires. It’s going to take your life. With the grace of God, I’ve moved on from it.”

Newsome said he wants to inspire others who have had similar experiences to keep their faith that there’s a better future for them. Never give up. Do the hard work, he said.

Wanting a better life

“If you want it bad enough, you can leave the wrong stuff alone and keep striving for the right stuff,” he said. “Believing in God, this will happen to you. Everything just sort of clicked for me because here I am. You’ve got to be positive and you can’t fall. If you keep doing the same things you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting the same results. You’ve got to be willing to fight for it.”

That fighting spirit brought Newsome home after 10 years of struggling, he said.  

“My dad told me to persevere. I’ve been doing that ever since. Now it’s gotten easier with some help. That’s what I didn’t have before is some help,” he said. “I want to go toward the light and not away from the light. I want to live and not die. That would be the best choice anyone could make – is to want to live.”

Need Mental Health Help Fast?

Call **ASK (star-star-2-7-5) from your cell phone or 1-800-939-5911.

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