Stories of Hope: Carlos’ Story – “Looking for change”

“My life before Belkin, I guess I would say I was very defeated. I was looking for solutions. My life had become something that I didn’t want…I knew I needed change. That’s what I came here looking for.” 


Carlos’ Story of Hope

“Before Belkin, I was in treatment for three months. I was in stabilization for one month and then detox for two months. Detox was one of the worst times in my life simply because I was so sick. It was not a fun time…I had a really tough detox. It made me see the amount of damage I had done to myself.”

Carlos defined addiction as a beast. He had lost his sister just before he decided he needed to get sober. With the weight of his grief and personal demons, Carlos was struggling to find hope in his life.

“I came in [to Belkin House’s Personal Development Program (PDP)] from treatment. I didn’t feel I was ready for the outside world. I had a home to go back to after treatment, I had housing, but I didn’t want to go back to where I was before. The place I had was not safe for my recovery. It was an SRO, although a very well-kept place, the problem with it was using and addiction was rampant in that building. There’s just no way I was going to stay sober there.”

“Even though housing in Vancouver is hard right now, I gave it up. Your life is more important. At least I will be sober and safe [at Belkin House]. It was very scary before moving in, very scary.”

A lot of worries were racing through Carlos’ mind as he was preparing to move into Belkin House.

“What if I relapse, there’s a big chance I will relapse and then I would have lost my home.”

However, everything started to shift once Carlos settled into Belkin House.

“Coming into Belkin and finally closed my old house and everything was moved here, it was such a relief. I could feel it…why was I holding on to that past life? It made my commitment to recovery stronger. That worry that I had about relapse…this is the road I’m taking now. Here we go.

After progressing through our PDP courses, such as financial literacy, rent smart, and applying for housing, Carlos was ready for phase two. He decided to pursue further schooling.

“I like helping people. I think it’s just something that’s so natural for me. I’ve always been interested in working with special needs.”

Returning to school was a bit daunting for Carlos.

“I applied and I got accepted to start my program, but I didn’t know how to pay for it… I was going to take out a loan.”

Concerned about affording his tuition, Carlos was also struggling with self-doubt.

“I’m going to start school, it’s a condensed program. I have not been in school for a long time. I’m coming out of addiction…who knows what damage I’ve done to my brain? Will I retain this stuff?”

Belkin House was able to secure an education grant which covered Carlos’ entire tuition. While we helped alleviate Carlos’ financial stress, he expressed gratitude for the support and resources at Belkin House that prepared him to return to school.


“Andy (Carlos’ Caseworker) prepared me. The resources here…use the resources here! I felt good and ready to start school mentally.”

Carlos has successfully graduated from his program and currently works in education.

Since Carlos had completed his schooling, started working and demonstrated stability, “Carlos showed them [housing managers] consistency,” Andy stated. After a 10 month stay at Belkin House, Carlos has secured housing after a lengthy and tumultuous process.

“One thing I really appreciate about Belkin was it gave me a place to grow. [It’s] unbelievable how much growing I did here as far as going to school and being able to be disciplined and at the same time, having the support here as far as housing and with my addiction…the fact I didn’t have to worry [because] the support is right here. Belkin was great, [I] have nothing but appreciation.”

“If you come to Belkin, please take advantage of the resources. They’ve been in the game for a long time. They know what they’re doing. I followed the program and I can say it works. They are here to help you.”

Reflecting on his time spent as C’s Caseworker, Andy is grateful for Carlos’ willingness and openness to fully embrace the PDP experience.

“Carlos followed the pathway the way we intended. He followed it perfectly. I love that Carlos is always open to receiving. I appreciate you trusting us”

“When things get hard, it’ll pass. And that’s what kept me going.” -Carlos


Date of interview with Carlos: January 19, 2024

Please note names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.

Instagram: @_belkincommunitiesofhope for more Stories of Hope

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