Friday, February 24, 2012


What follows is an email exchange between Janet Morrison, Director of the Community Life Team at CityWalk and one of our residents whom we'll call "Patrick."  The honesty and the struggle are very clear.  The difficulty of recovery and the opportunity to achieve it continue on display every day here inside the housing community offered at 511 N. Akard Street in Downtown Dallas. 

After all that has gone on at CitySquare, emails like the one I'm about to share with you are awesome to receive. Patrick is a CityWalk resident who moved in a few months ago. When I did his initial Outcomes Star, I had a feeling he would have some challenges. I had asked George to try to work closely with him.

Patrick first agreed to meet with George, then started sending angry emails to me saying it was wrong that we force him to meet. He said he knew he had struggled in the past but he had his life under control and didn't need someone telling him what to do. He demanded to meet with Dallas Housing Authority (DHA) staff and myself. I went ahead and tried to set that up with DHA.

While that was happening, I saw him on the elevator. He, evidently, didn't remember who I was and was asking others in the elevator if they had to meet with this "Community Life team," to which one of the residents smiled and eagerly said, "Yes! I do...and she (pointing at me) is the one who met with me!"

Patrick asked who I was. When I told him, he put the name with the person he had been emailing and looked a little surprised, then got off the elevator. I talked to George and I imagine he talked with Patrick again.

I got this email about a week later:


I have decided to cancel the meeting with you and DHA. I will meet with George on 1/18/12 to discuss my goals. Sorry about all the confusion I have created. What you are witnessing is my self-destruct mode that I resort to and for what reason I don't know. I guess I feel that I can always live on the streets when something isn't going the way I think it should. I've learned how to make it on the streets and have a tendency to resort back to those ways. Is this insanity or what? I need to accept success and change my homeless ways of thinking.

Also, when I allow someone to counsel me or talk to me about my goals, is like saying I don't know how to manage my own life. I do know how to manage my own life. I grant you that in the past I haven't done a very good job of it, but that has been because I didn't care to manage my own life, I just wanted to continue with my addiction. I must learn to humble myself and allow someone else into my life. Am I making any sense with all this? Do you understand what I am relating to you?

Again, cancel the meeting and I will meet with George on the date I mentioned above. My sincere apologies to you and George.


I periodically see Patrick on the elevator and ask how he is doing. He periodically responds to different opportunities I send out via email. Here is the latest:

Hello Janet,

During my time of addiction and homelessness, I was never truly a happy person. Help came in many forms and fashions. Most of them I cared nothing about. Today, I have the best help I could ever ask for in my arrangement with CityWalk. It is what I looked for for a long time. I found out about CityWalk from a Lady at The Heights Church in Richardson. I admit though that what works for me might not be right for the next person. Since I have been at CityWalk I have accomplished some things, but could have done more. That's my fault. Did you know that attempting to bring an addict or homeless person into recovery or such is almost like trying to cage a wild tiger in alot of cases. The tiger is "stuck" (Outcome Star: User Guide) and wants to scratch anybody that comes close. In a way I still fit this model. I'm working on becoming more of a civilized tiger though! I know what's going on in the mind of an addict and/or a homeless person since I can very much relate. In some instances when I come in contact with an addict or homeless person I see the way I have been and actually don't like what I see in that person. I want to see in me and that person what God ordained before the foundation of the world in that person and myself. This requires relinquishing (surrender) control of myself and giving it to God. This can be scary since I have always wanted to be in control. It's kind of like losing me. But, I know that is best to lose the old self and give God a chance.

Regarding the Action Plan, I am making progress. I have a plan for getting a job, but I have to do this in the right order so as not to compromise what I now have. I have started attending Celebrate Recovery and have a plan for the senior center. If you have a prayer list, please put me on there. I thank God for bringing you, George and CityWalk into my life. Thanks for your friendship and the same to George!!

It helps me just to talk with you via email, so hope you don't mind me rambling on about all this stuff.

See you in the elevator!  LOL



These are the things that help me know that the struggles and frustrations have an end result. Our job is a roller coaster. We may run into something else with Patrick tomorrow that takes us back a couple of steps...but receiving emails like these every once in a while help us know we are making progress and moving forward.

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