Jeff Hackbarth

I came to the Harbor through the Department of Corrections and the Drug Court program of Polk County. This is a small part of my life’s story. What is was like, what happened and what it’s like now.

My life had become unmanageable, my addiction had taken over every aspect of my life. I was unemployed, I cut off ties with my family and friends and the people that loved me and truly cared about me. I was losing my home because I didn’t pay the taxes, had no running water, no electricity or heat. I sold drugs to make money and to supply my own habit. I only associated with people who used just like me.

I wanted to end my life, I hated the way I was living. I was on probation for a drug related offense and had to see my probation officer the following day. I knew I couldn’t pass a drug test. I thought of sure he would put me in the last place I wanted to be, jail. I thought seriously about ending my life that night. I was in my basement writing a suicide note on my phone and thinking about going through with it. My phone rang, it was my mother. I hadn’t answered my mother’s calls for months but this time I did.

I went to see my probation officer the next morning and he wanted to drug test me. I told him I had been using and wouldn’t be able to pass. To my surprise he told me to clean myself up and come back next week to see him. He was giving me another chance.

It was around this time that my brother passed away. I was angry and could not not understand why God would take my brother from me. My drug use increased after this. I was even using the day of my brother’s funeral.

When I returned to my probation officer the following week, I did not look any better. I was giving up, I told him I’d go to prison and just do my time. He had another idea. He said to enter the drug court program and go to a halfway house.

That is when I came to the Harbor of Hope. I met Tom Pontow and he asked if I was willing to take suggestions from him and follow the rules of the house. I said, yes. I knew that my way of life was no longer working. I went off to an inpatient treatment where I was successful, at Tom’s recommendation, and returned to the Harbor.

I took advantage of all available resources while at the Harbor, particularly aftercare, and relapse prevention. I got help in building a resume and found employment. I got on health insurance for the first time in a very long time and I received help in paying my first month’s rent.

Today I rent a home, which I share with three other graduates of the Harbor. I have the same job that I got while at the Harbor and I have found recovery. I am no longer on probation and I owe a good chunk of gratitude to the Harbor of Hope for giving me another chance.

Jeff Hackbarth