Lyssa's Journey of Recovery

Published 05/03/2019

Raleigh Resident Overcomes Addiction and Homelessness, Improves Quality of Life Through Connecting with Local Nonprofit Agencies

(Pictured: Lyssa’s husband Michael, Lyssa, and Brandon select furniture for Lyssa’s new home at The Green Chair Project)

RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA – Addiction and homelessness are two of the most profound challenges impacting an individual’s quality of life. Either of these can be extremely difficult to overcome, but taken together, the challenge can feel nearly insurmountable.

It is estimated that approximately 200,000 people suffer from a substance use disorder (i.e., substance addiction) in Wake County each year. According to recent statistics, homelessness has increased 31% since 2015 in Raleigh and Wake County, resulting in over 5,500 individuals seeking homeless services.

Two years ago, Lyssa had found herself in this position, and had reached what she describes as the lowest point in her life. She struggled with substance use, was unemployed, and homeless, living with her husband in a tent on the outskirts of town.

Lyssa often felt hopeless and alone. “I literally had nothing,” she explains.

In December 2017, she was admitted to a treatment program of Fellowship Health Resources (FHR). For 16 months, Lyssa took part in the organization’s Substance Abuse Intensive Outpatient Program. The program included a minimum of 90 days of intensive treatment, which led to additional levels of care, focusing on a combination of mental health recovery, peer support services, and sustaining sobriety.

“Along the way, Lyssa had doubts about her recovery, but never lost hope,” said Brandon Robinson, LCAS, LPC, CCS, FHR Director of Addiction Services. “On the outside, she appeared broken, but kept a strong desire to change, which ultimately led to her success. She asked for help and began giving back to her peers, which I think were milestones in her journey.”

Working with FHR’s staff, she remained focused on turning her life around for the better. She mapped out the goals she wanted to achieve, and set out a plan to accomplish them. Lyssa and her husband secured jobs, purchased vehicles, and moved into a place of their own. They were also able to gain custody of Lyssa’s three-year-old daughter.

On her last day of treatment, Lyssa completed her 18-month comprehensive Recovery Court program (“Drug Court”) governed by the court system.

On this same day, Robinson connected Lyssa to The Green Chair Project. A non-profit based in Raleigh, The Green Chair Project provides home furnishings donated from the community to families and individuals who have transitioned from experiencing homelessness or disasters and have secured sustainable housing.

“I was able to get two chairs, a really nice ottoman, bathroom supplies, and towels,” said Lyssa. “Most importantly, I was given a bed for my daughter, who was previously sleeping on a mattress on our floor.”

Today, Lyssa remains substance free, and is grateful for her connections both with FHR and The Green Chair Project for so significantly improving her quality of life.

“I’ve made a complete 180 in my life from where I was,” she shares. “I’ve told my daughter and also everyone in drug court – you’ve got to really want to change. I wanted my life to be different. For that reason, I’ve been able to persevere.”

To learn more about the programs and community initiatives of FHR in North Carolina, click here.

For more information about The Green Chair Project, visit