When Robert arrived at Community Service Alliance in April of 2019, he was terrified. It was his first attempt at recovery after an ongoing struggle with addiction and a 10-month stay at a local inpatient treatment center – longer than most average stays at such facilities. “I was afraid of relapsing because I’d never done this before,” he says.

Robert was admitted to Fulton House, and he recalls being very lonely at first because the house was very quiet and he didn’t know any of the other guys. The men at Fulton house were all going about their business, going to work in the mornings and to meetings at night, and Robert felt out of place. “Then I started talking to guys here, and I did what my sponsor suggested and go to meetings and just be helpful.” That simple change in mindset made all the difference. Robert settled in, working during the days at a job he’d been trained for by the Veterans Administration, going to meetings all over town in the evenings, and following the advice of his sponsor and CSA Program Manager, James Johnson. Soon he started noticing a change.

In a regular one-on-one session, James recommended that Robert start to save his money to pay down his debts and prepare for his eventual move from Fulton House into independent living. Prior to arriving at CSA, Robert had built up a considerable amount of debt, including back-debts owed to the gas and electric companies. Robert heeded the advice, and the affordable rent at Fulton House and the support of the staff allowed him to pay them off a little at a time. Now he’s debt free and “Ready for the real world!”

“This place saved my life,” Robert says, “and I’m thankful they’ve let me stay this long. They must have seen something in me.” And to the new guy just coming into one of the CSA houses, Robert says, “Do what you’re told. If you have issues, take them to Tim, James or Tom. Tell them about it and they’ll help you. Don’t be shy. Get to know the guys here, and make sure you make all your meetings!” It’s advice that Robert took to heart to help his own transformation.

More Stories


As a Cleveland native, James frequented Browns, Cavaliers, and Indians games growing up. No matter where life took him, James always found his way back to Cleveland. After meeting a couple of boys at the local YMCA, James started running the streets and became a father at a young age. James struggled with alcohol and […]

Meet James


Louis came to Community Service Alliance’s Procop House in the fall of 2019 in early sobriety with very few resources except a job as a laborer with a siding company. When the pandemic hit in early 2020, Louis lost his job, but he maintained a positive attitude and worked with the CSA staff to get […]

Meet Louis