“Getting the chance to help others makes me feel truly blessed every day.”
New Orleans, Louisiana - October, 2020
My name is Lloyd Simmons and I am 66 years old. I was born and raised here in New Orleans and I had a good upbringing with great parents. In 6th grade, I started experimenting with drugs. Pretty soon, I became a substance abuser. I didn’t think I would make it to the age of 25.
In 2001, my mother passed away, and this hit me hard. It was a terrible loss. She was my rock. This was a dark time, and I was in deep trouble.
They say you have to hit rock bottom before you move up. By 2003, I knew something had to change. I was in court for drugs, and the judge got me into the Volunteers of America’s Single Room Occupancy, or SRO. Thank God for that judge. The SRO is a safe place to live if you were once homeless and struggling with addiction. It’s a place where you can live only if you are clean and sober and want to recover.
You have your own apartment and the staff provides all the support you need to change your life, but staying clean and sober is up to you. I arrived at the SRO on June 1, 2003, and I took advantage of what Volunteers of America offered. I am proud to say that I have been clean since. I just completed my 16th year of sobriety… 16 years!
I did so well that they offered me a job as resident manager. It meant so much to me to actually be employed by Volunteers of America. The support staff at Volunteers of America saved my life.
I am no longer living at the SRO. I have a nice home in Gentilly. I help people in recovery as a Certified Peer Support Specialist. I work from the perspective of "having been there." Getting the chance to help others makes me feel truly blessed every day.
If wish my late mother could see that I am alive, clean and successful. How I disappointed her. I am so sorry, and I miss her so much. But I am trying to make amends by helping others suffering with addiction. People with addictions need your help. Volunteers of America saved my life. If not for the people in this organization, I would probably be in jail or dead. May God bless you all.