Justin’s Story: Men’s Mission and Quintin Warner House

Justin, Cook at Quintin Warner House

Justin, Cook at Quintin Warner House

“When I was 21, I got hurt at work and was in a car accident. That’s really when my addiction started and became out of control. In one year, I went from having a job making $30 an hour, to being homeless.

The first time I went to the Men’s Mission was in 2003. I was homeless on and off for eight years. I would stay at the Men’s Mission, then get a place. When I had a place, my addiction felt more manageable. During that time, I was able to work and pay rent. But then, a few years into having a place, something would happen and I’d be back at the Men’s Mission again.

Looking back on the eight years that I was struggling, I just really didn’t like myself. I felt like I was surviving and every day was passing me by. I didn’t want to live, but I didn’t want to die. My rock bottom kept getting deeper, and deeper, and deeper.

The staff were great when I stayed at the Men’s Mission, and the food was incredible. When I was down and out, I appreciated the Men’s Mission and Mission Services of London’s Community Mental Health Program’s Resource Center, because I had nowhere to go. There were people who really did care, and I knew that, even then.

Even though no one likes to stay in a shelter, the Men’s Mission kept me well-fed, and there was always someone around to talk to. When you have nothing in your stomach, that’s a big deal. I had friends and acquaintances there, and I had strong relationships with the staff. When I needed support, I found it at Mission Services of London and in the staff.

My last time staying at the Men’s Mission was in 2012. I went from the Men’s Mission into Mission Services of London’s addiction treatment center, Quintin Warner House. I started the four-month, live-in addiction treatment program in September of 2012.

My first Christmas sober was at Quintin Warner House, which was pretty remarkable. I had a Counsellor who pushed me to do things that were really hard for me. I learned that I may have made mistakes in my past, but my focus should be on what I can accomplish in the future.

Once I completed the program, I started to like myself again. I stayed at the Annex for 11 months and took part in Quintin Warner Houses’ aftercare program. The aftercare program really changed my perspective.

I stayed connected to the people who helped me at Quintin Warner House, and I was volunteering there often. That’s how I found out about an open position at the Men’s Mission in 2016. I applied and was hired as a Cook’s Helper. Then, I was promoted to a Cook. In 2021, I became a Cook at Quintin Warner House.

I love working at Quintin Warner House because I feel like I can give the guys who come into the program hope that they can become sober and employed again. There were points in my addiction when I thought that I would never be working again. The fact that I work at an addiction treatment center that I used is pretty cool.

Not only that, there are people who helped me at the Men’s Mission and Quintin Warner House that still work there. If ever there are times when I’m struggling emotionally or mentally, they are there for me and they know what I need to hear.

Without Mission Services of London, I don’t think I’d be alive. For me, these services were a gift from God. I think God puts people in your life for certain reasons. There are guys at the Men’s Mission I really care about, especially a lot of the older guys. When I left the Men’s Mission in 2012, some of the guys actually were sad to see me go. They’re great guys.

When I started working at the Men’s Mission a few years later, I saw an old friend of mine who was still accessing the services. He gave me a Christmas card. It still amazes me.

I’m most proud of maintaining sobriety. I have such a great relationship with my family. One of the things that was very hard about being homeless was that my parents had to give me tough love, and they had to let me do my own thing. They told me they’d be there when I was ready to come back. Now, my relationship with them is strong, and I’m able to help them out as they get older.

I want to show people who are suffering that you can get out of addiction. I’m just really grateful for the opportunity to work at Mission Services of London. If I didn’t get into Quintin Warner House, I don’t know where I’d be. I’d either be out there getting worse, or I’d be dead. I just live in the moment, and I live for today.”

Justin is a Cook at Mission Services of London’s Quintin Warner House site. Employed with Mission Services of London since 2016, Justin is a former participant of Men’s Mission and a graduate of Quintin Warner House’s four-month, live-in addiction treatment program.

Mission Services of London is so proud to share his story.

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