At 12 years old, Berkeley Wright was introduced to drugs and alcohol by friends and even her parents. When she became homeless during her teen years, Berkeley began using hard drugs with her mother. By 25, she had three children and had been arrested five times. She’ll never forget that fifth and final time on June 2, 2015.

“This time something different happened,” Berkeley recalls. “My children were without me. I knew something had to change.”

Once she got out of jail, Berkeley was referred to the Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOT) Program at Center for Human Services.

“I was so ready to change and had the willingness to turn to Center for Human Services for help with my substance use disorder,” Berkeley said.

The IOT Program provides group therapy for adults and adolescents 12-17 years old throughout Stanislaus County. Participants meet for 36 sessions over a period of three months at Center for Human Services’ Community Clinic in Modesto, Patterson Family Resource Center, or Oakdale Family Resource and Counseling Center.

Berkeley sought help at our Community Clinic in Modesto where she met her counselor, Austin Gunter.

“He accepted me and treated me no differently than anyone else,”  Berkeley said. “Austin instilled hope in me that I thought I had lost.”

“Berkeley was open, willing and honest during groups; gave positive feedback; and examined where her addiction had taken her,” Austin said. “She was a positive role model for her peers and open to doing additional assignments that focused on specific areas in her life that needed to be addressed.”

Austin and the other Center for Human Services counselors lead the groups through topics like stress and emotional well-being, problem solving, and money management. Berkeley said she gained the most through self-exploration and writing exercises Austin gave her, allowing her to explore her painful past and deep emotions, while growing resilience.

“Austin Gunter inspired me to achieve anything I wanted in life, that I could break the cycle for my children and the next generation to come,” Berkeley said. “He guided me in the right direction to gain the best out of my recovery. My life has completely changed for the better.”

Now, at the age of 28, Berkeley has been clean for more than two years, lives in an apartment in Modesto with her son, and is working on getting her daughter back. In 2017, she earned a certificate in substance abuse counseling and now works as a counselor so she can be for others what Austin was for her.

“I want to help people to build themselves up despite any past history or disparity, to educate them on how they can break the cycle for themselves, their family and children, and to help them know they are worth it.”

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Berkeley Wright
Center for Human Services Client