and our Blog!

The road to recovery is long and hard. Often this road is filled with triumphs and disappointment. This is Bobbi's story up until now. The clouds are parting and she works every day to see things clearly and for what they are.

Growing up in a small town outside of Chatham, Bobbi suffered sexual abuse as a preteen. The abuse had a huge impact on her life and how she felt about herself. At age 13, Bobbi began dabbling with alcohol. She was looking for something to help her escape her thoughts and deal with what was going on. The numbness brought on by the alcohol helped her cope. Then, at age 16, Bobbi was introduced to cocaine and quickly realized this substance's entire release. "It took everything away," she said.

For 25 years, Bobbi became a "functioning" addict. "Nobody knew, well, most people didn't know," Bobbi remarked. Life was fairly normal, with a husband, kids and home. Her use was on the weekends.

In 2018 Bobbi's father passed away of lung disease. The loss devastated her. She had never suffered a loss so significant. Ultimately, Bobbi, unable to cope with the loss and not having the support to manage the grief, turned back to the only method she knew. This time, however, she tried something new....Crack Cocaine.

Smoking crack provided Bobbi moments in time when all her anxiety and bad thoughts went away. "It was mind-numbing," she said, but then you come down. When you are down, it feels like a depression. You feel down, and you want to go back up and feel high again. This starts the process of chasing it. "

Bobbi's husband wanting to keep the family together and safe had made many changes in his own life. A major rule he implemented was that there was to be no drug use in the house. This presented a problem for Bobbi, still not dealing with her pain and seeking escape. Bobbi decided to leave and live on the streets. The addiction's power over her was intense. For three years, Bobbi lived off and on at home and on the streets. She went to Brentwood Rehabilitation Center twice but still battled with her addiction.

When Bobbi first went out on the street, she had some money, but that quickly left. With no money to support the chase, Bobbi found other ways to secure funds, such as exploiting her car and herself.

"Looking back now, I realized that my problems rode deep, " Bobbi said.

After the last course of rehabilitation, Bobbi stayed clean for nine months. Her depression set in again, which ended her sobriety. Bobbi felt helpless and out of control. She stopped working her programs from Brentwood, lost her job and blamed her husband and kids. Bobbi could not cope. Once again, she spiraled. "This was the worst time," Bobbi said. She packed her clothes and once again headed out on the street.

Thankfully an understanding friend found her living in her car, knocked on her door, and offered her accommodations. She slept on her friend's couch out of the cold for four months. Every day her family would call, trying to check in, but Bobbi would not take the calls. She was high and felt she could not speak to them in her current state. Bobbi's friend tried to reassure her that she was not made for this life and needed to return to her family

....but she was not ready.

Then one day, while sitting on the porch, her husband appeared. He put himself in a hazardous position coming to the house where she was living. He came to tell her, in person, that he wanted his wife back. He told her her children wanted their mother back and that it was time to go home....but she still was not ready.

However, this time something was different. Having gone through rehabilitation, Bobbi knew the choices she was making by not going home. But, this time, she was not lying to herself. Instead, she thought about her husband's changes and sacrifices to keep her clean and safe from this way of life. She realized the clouds were starting to part as it was the first step on this long road to recovery.

Her husband called every day, but Bobbi still felt that she was not ready to go home. Desperate to bring his wife home, he asked her to come home for just an hour, and she agreed. When they met again, he told her all the things he had said before. He said he did not like Bobbi from the street, she did not care about herself, her hygiene, or anything. He knew that this was not who she was, and he wanted her back. Something clicked. This time she was ready to hear what he had to say. "The clouds were lifting, and I started to see where I was and what I was doing and who I was hurting."

An opportunity came to pick up her son with her husband. But not without some conditions. She had to be clean and sober, physically clean, and have slept. When you live in a place where you really can not trust anyone, sleeping can be problematic. So Bobbi would go weeks using drugs to keep her from having to sleep.

The day came when she got clean, had not done any drugs, and was ready to meet her family again. She packed all her things, got in her car, said goodbye to her friend, and headed home. When she got to her Mom's to pick up her son, he ran only to his Dad. Her son was nervous and unsure to see her. "This tore me up, and I saw the damage I had done." That day she called Brentwood back and resumed her rehabilitation.

Every day, Bobbi calls her "accountability." A former addict at one time but is now sober for many years. She touches base with her to discuss life and any problems she may be having. She also checks in to say, "I am okay today." She attends meetings every other day and now she has women calling her from Brentwood to tell her their stories. There is healing in telling others your story.

"Now, I am thriving."

Bobbi is now four months sober and is working hard to reframe her self-worth by taking care of her family and doing the right things. She has her go-to person, to whom she tells everything. "If I have a conflict, I call her instead of running to drugs. I have a plan that helps me deal with things and not use it as an excuse to run to drugs. She is working very hard to reestablish herself in her role as a wife, mother,

and citizen. She feels good and takes strength in her ability to face her addictions and work every day to overcome the challenges and "how to be free."

She takes each day one day at a time. She fights for her life as soon as she opens her eyes. She makes that decision to fight for her family for herself and others who need her help.

Bobbi's world domination plan includes becoming a drug and alcohol counselor. She knows that she will provide the help people need as she has walked in their shoes and knows how hard this road to recovery can be.

27 views0 comments

Amy Finn

When asked why do you work so hard for people and get so involved in people's lives, living rough? "Everyone has a story. I've always had a connection to the community, always lived all around the area. I know these people. Some of them were my kid's babysitters. When I went to work, they would keep watch over the house for me. I have always brought clothes and supplies to those in the community."

What is your typical day in retirement? Well, every day is different! I have stuff I keep in my van full time. Sleeping bags, clothing, simple things, hygiene stuff. I will travel out and around and talk to people I know are out there. I stop and say, hey, how's it going today?

You now sit on the council, and I am sure you are there because you want to affect change in our community? I want all people to be treated; equally, it's a big thing to me. I don't care if you are a multimillionaire or you have no money to your name; you should be treated the same way. Amy Finn finds herself being the advocate for many individuals in our community who would fall through the cracks of our society without support. If an appointment is missed and our friend does not have a phone, that vital appointment is missed. Amy sees the bigger picture for many individuals who, because of either their home insecurity or unwillingness to go to public health facilities, suffer. "It's the little things that we do that make all the difference in the lives of people. Individuals have told me that they would not be alive if it were not for the support of you and the group at the Rock Mission."

If a genie in a bottle approached you in a bottle, what would your three wishes be?

1) Affordable Housing - Many people are priced out of the housing and rental market. Housing that people can afford and take ownership of. 2) Mental and Social supports in the community.

"Everyone is worth the help"

People need ongoing support to help themselves out of their current situation. 3) Support for nonprofit organizations. Support the groups getting down and dirty, doing the work that needs to be done. R.O.C.K. Missions get involve with people to help them to rise above. "I spent 10 minutes with this person and said - Hey how are you doing today?"

15 views2 comments

An interview with Jeff Parker Rock Missions Co-Founder

Why are you involved with R.O.C.K. Missions?

"Because it is the right thing to do!"

In 2016 Jeff began working with Chatham Hope Haven downtown. He wanted to help the women and men of Chatham Kent suffering from home and food insecurity. While volunteering, Jeff became concerned that only men were allowed to stay overnight. He felt in his heart that this was not right. Jeffs's philosophy is that all lives mattered, and he decided to leave.

In 2019 Jeff, with the help of his friends Al and Candy, founded the R.O.C.K. missions. (Reach Out Chatham Kent). Jeff states: "I am just one man, and without my family at R.O.C.K. Mission, I too would be lost."

What started with 14 lunches on August 14th, 2019, now serves 340 lunches twice a week.

Jeff states, "If you don't know and you don't see it, you don't have to deal with it. People don't want to deal with it. They don't want to acknowledge that it is here in our backyard."

For the past 35 years, Jeff has chosen to embrace his life experience, better himself, and give back. Jeff established a men's support group and has published three books telling their courageous stories.

"Hope is not a plan; faith is."

In April of 2012, Jeff Parker lost his son, aged 33. His son was murdered by a homeless person needlessly. It took much strength and fortitude to find the grace to forgive, but Jeff resigns himself to the fact that this own survival depended on this. Jeff chooses to serve this lost community by supporting people who, as he puts it, "hope to help them find the light."

"When I got better, I became the lighthouse."

What do you say to people when they tell you - oh, this is a choice people are making. They don't have to live on the streets or take drugs. They could stop. "There is a reason people got to be how they are, whether it is abuse or labels," says Jeff. "Things build-up, and if you don't get the proper help, that's when things go wrong. And for the ten hands out, there may be one hand up asking for the help they need."

Jeff reflects on an individual he supported getting his life back on track. This individual is now not on drugs, living independently, and is healthy.

"R.O.C.K. Mission is a lighthouse for those that need help."

Jeff Parker also calls out the United Way and Maple City Homes for being a lighthouse for our community. He hopes the Mayor will come to walk with the group during an outreach to see the reality of homelessness and the opioid crisis first hand. Jeff hopes he would come out and see what the R.O.C.K. Mission does for our community.

"You Matter" is Jeff Parkers motto. He is very grateful for the many angels that come together each week that give their time and efforts to support those in our community that society overlooks.

26 views0 comments