Meet Us Monday: Angelos, Recovery Navigator

Meet Angelos, a Recovery Navigator with REAL LIFE. At age 10, after Angelos’ father left, his mother moved Angelos and his brother to Newport News. Angelos began running the streets, getting in trouble, and became addicted to opioids. He lost his brother to an overdose when they were 17. Since then, he has constantly been in and out of jail, until he was bonded out of jail to the REAL LIFE program in February of 2022. At the time, Angelos was unhappy with himself and wanted a new direction for his life. He was tired of being an addict and going to jail. REAL LIFE has “given him the opportunity to change his life for the better.” This coming February will mark the first time as an adult that he has spent an entire year out of jail. Angelos is now 30 years old.

At REAL LIFE, he has been surrounded by other people like him who also wanted a different and better life. He was given the tools, opportunity and foundation for a better life. The structure of REAL LIFE and the people and staff helped him. His Pathway Navigator helped him see that he was capable of change. She was someone he could always turn to for help and advice.

REAL LIFE helped him face his addiction. The staff held him accountable for his actions and taught him how to handle problems in his life without turning to drugs. While journaling as a part of the REAL LIFE curriculum, he learned self-reflection. He learned how to acknowledge what caused his addictions and to find answers to questions about himself. Angelos was able to have a new understanding of himself.

In addition to his work with REAL LIFE, Angelos loves his job at TruFades barber shop and hopes to have his barber license soon. He recently won a competition at the shop for bringing in the most new customers in one month. Additionally, Angelos has used his talents to volunteer with a program that provides haircuts for homeless individuals. He was even included in a news story about the program! Many of his friends and family called him and were proud of his accomplishments. He is very proud of his accomplishments and success.

Angelos is a Recovery Navigator with REAL LIFE through the Recovery Corps program. His job includes leading classes and programs and providing peer support to Lifers. Angelos is working on training to become certified as a Peer Recovery Specialist. He likes helping people, especially youth, who are in a similar position as he once was; he finds it rewarding to see them go from surviving to thriving.