Defining Success

Troy’s Journey to Recovery

Troy has been navigating his mental health and addiction recovery for many years. Having overcome drug addiction at an earlier age, he was teaching at the college level and was working on a PhD in Philosophy when he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. At the time, he was uncertain of what was happening to him. He thought he was having a heart attack, but was turned away from medical facilities because he showed no signs of illness. He spent two weeks wandering the streets, trying to get help before his family brought him home for treatment.

Troy is no stranger to understanding the hard work necessary to focus on his mental health recovery. “The first time I fell out of treatment, I was an alcoholic, got evicted, and ended up homeless,” Troy says. He has now been sober for eight years and has been an active member of the Thomas M. Wernert Center for the past three.

Since coming to TMWC he has continued on his path of recovery. Troy explains that the encouragement offered by staff at TMWC has been essential to his recovery process. Receiving peer support, learning advocacy skills, and socializing with his friends in the Club Room are just some of his favorite things about TMWC. Troy is a frequent attendee of PEP classes and other activities at the Thomas M. Wernert Center. “I find Gardening Club to be particularly stress relieving,” says Troy. “It gets me out of my apartment, I can visit with the friends I have made, and I get to take home and eat vegetables I’ve helped grow. It’s a win-win.”

Troy uses his experience with mental health and substance abuse issues to teach himself and others the importance of staying on the road toward recovery.
“Going through what I did helped me understand the importance of taking regular and consistent care of my mental health,” he says.
Troy is a graduate of Ottawa Hills High School and holds degrees from The University of Toledo and Texas A&M Graduate School. “I used to think I was successful because of my job and the letters after my name. Now I consider myself successful because I keep up with my recovery.”

Troy describes the TMWC as being a “vital part of our community.” He emphasizes that bringing awareness to mental health issues and wellness is what keeps a community “healthy and functioning.” Troy’s experiences with mental illness and substance use, combined with his previous teaching skills has also helped build his awareness and advocacy surrounding mental wellness – and he wants to share that with others.

Outside of TMWC, Troy enjoys spending time with his family and listening to music. He is the proud uncle of five nieces and nephews and his favorite Rock artist is Van Halen. He enjoys sharing the fruits of his labor by cooking dinner with his family using ingredients grown in Gardening Club.