The effectiveness of our opioid and other substance use treatment programs can sometimes be measured by the numbers, but the ultimate success comes when hope is possible and lives are changed. Below are just a few of the very human stories of courage and accomplishment.


Outpatient Opioid Treatment Program

Ben in front of white board

When I came here I was a broken person full of hate, shame and guilt. With the help of services I received – methadone maintenance, individual counseling and groups - I started to get well. I started to listen to my illness and understand it. I came to realize I wasn't a bad person. I just made bad choices to escape my pain. At LESC, I started being able to forgive myself and deal with my issues without medicating them. LESC has helped me tremendously.

At LESC, the people who worked with me listened to me. They would take the time to hear me out and try to understand me. It was almost like they were in my head, reminding me that I wasn't a bad person and I didn't have to use drugs anymore to deal with my problems.

Today I have hope. I have patience with myself and others. I can seek out others to talk to when I need to, and I can listen to those who are going through what I've gone through. I can understand myself and others better now. I feel like I have something to offer.

Find out more about the Outpatient Opioid Treatment Program.


Medication Assisted Maintenance Residence Program

Nicole in front of painting

I was initially scared to try and come off of methadone. Then I tested the waters at the Medication Assisted Maintenance Residence Program and found out this treatment really was for me. I was broken when I arrived. I was physically sick with no hope. LESC has changed my life. I leave here Hep C free, with my GED, and a Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor Trainee Certification (CASAC-t).  I was attracted to counseling by my experience with the LESC staff. And now I’m a counselor myself! I came in not knowing who or what I wanted to be. I didn’t have the self-esteem to realize that I had all this potential. I didn’t realize the power inside of me. I also reunited with my son for the first time in seven years.

LESC is highly structured with a clear zero tolerance policy. It created a healthy fear in me.  But that's what makes LESC so different. The staff are so consistent. Each counselor is so available. That's why I wanted to work in residential treatment.

Today, I can see that my decisions have consequences. I’d hear the same advice every morning. You have to be committed. Just stick and stay. If you don’t know anything, don’t do anything. Just stay. Remain teachable. Remain open. Now I’m conscious of the decisions that I make. I see myself as excelling in the job that I have. I can see my future now. I have a future now.

Find out more about the Medication Assisted Maintenance Residence Program.


Medication to Abstinence Residence Program

Peter leaning against LESC van

My involvement with LESC began more than 26 years ago. I had everything to live for, but I struggled with a long history of drug use. I was married, had a beautiful child and was an art consultant to some of the most prestigious firms in New York City, but I could not stop drinking and using drugs. As a result, I became homeless and lost everything. 

A near-death experience changed my life. After stays in 8 rehabs, I became a resident of Medication to Abstinence Residence Program, where I got clean and have remained drug-free. If it wasn’t for the Lower Eastside Service Center, I don’t think I’d be alive today. I have since been invited to become a member of the Board of Trustees of the LESC, where I proudly served as a Trustee for 12 years and Chairman for 4 years. As Chair, expanded LESC services to create a camp and year-round kids club for children whose families are in recovery. Today I am Vice-President of Marketing and Fundraising for LESC Foundation and speak publicly on behalf of the LESC. 

Nothing compares with sharing my experience with those in need in our community. I especially want the people in our programs to know that if I could get clean and sober, so can they. To those who are not sure if there’s a life after drugs, I offer my story in the spirit of providing hope.

Find out more about the Medication to Abstinence Residence Program.


Pregnant Women and Infants Program

Julie smiling holding her baby

I’ve been in the pregnant women and infants program a little over a year now, and my future is looking very successful. I’m now a mother to all my children, including my 5-month-old Timothy who was born while I was in the program. Timothy will come to know his brothers and sisters now because we are a family again.

When I arrived here, my addiction to drugs was unmanageable and my life was in complete chaos. I lost everything: my family, my children, my soul, myself and my passion to live. I was dying inside. I needed to make a change.

LESC worked with me one-on-one to address my issues and problems, and to demonstrate the standards of everyday living in society. I am now more independent, stronger and more knowledgeable. I have passion and compassion for others. LESC taught me how to live again. With their help, I completed school and I will start my career as a certified peer advocate. I am sober now and can help others with their recovery. My soul is awake, recovered and healed. Each day is worth living. 

Find out more about the Pregnant Women and Infants Program.


Dual Recovery Services Program

Professor giving lecture

I hit bottom with my addiction. I was desperate for help. While looking for places to go, I came across the Dual Recovery Services Program at LESC. My experience with the Dual Recovery Services Program changed me in a deep and meaningful way. I realized my recovery was multifaceted and, more importantly, that I must take responsibility for my own recovery. All parts of the program in dual recovery, from the groups to the therapist and the psychiatrist, helped me understand how to be responsible for my own recovery.

Dual Recovery is different from other programs. I was in another abstinence program for seven years, but the harshness did not suit me. I didn't feel the team effort. The difference with LESC's dual recovery services is the guidance I received from my therapist. Dual recovery gave me the feeling that everyone came together with one purpose, which was to help me. 

My future looks pretty bright now. I came from using my addiction as my livelihood (dealing drugs) to becoming a beacon of hope for others in my old circle. [John is now a popular professor at a prestigious university.] Now I am exploring how my untreated bipolar disorder may have contributed to my addiction. My advice to others seeking help from LESC is to listen and be open. If I could succeed there, anyone else can, too.

Find out more about Dual Recovery Services.