“One Day, I Just Started Doing the Right Thing.”

Being a teenager has its challenges and making a few bad decisions could shape your future forever. This is not the case for Mark Piro. Marc grew up in Wilmington, Mass and spent the majority of his teenage years being bullied, feeling insecure and dealing with low

self-esteem and body image. As a middle schooler, his anguish was compounded with compulsive drinking, smoking marijuana and popping any pill he could find. He dropped out of high school in tenth grade, by the age of 18 he was using heroin, on probation for stealing, hustling in Boston and about to return to jail for eight months in prison at the Middlesex House of Correction.

Marc entered a sober house in Billerica and continued to use drugs. He began a new relationship and soon moved in with his boyfriend and his mother where they actively sold drugs and hustled. The six month abusive relationship ended and Marc found himself at a shelter in Lowell. A turning point for Marc is when he was arrested for shoplifting food in a local supermarket and not one family member would pay the $40 bail. Marc received a Section 12 to get into a detox program and began the transition. When Marc began receiving Clinical Support Services (CSS), he became traumatized as he reflected upon his very dark whirlwind of drugs, alcohol, relationships and prison. It was time for a change. Marc entered a six month residential recovery program at the MHSA Sullivan House, Jamaica Plain with hopes for a new future.

“Marc Piro is the epitome of why we do what we do,” says Richard Draper, MHSA Intake Coordinator at the Sullivan House. “His story is a prime example of how people can be successful in a recovery program once they make up their mind,” says Richard. Marc refers to Richard as a mentor and warmly reflects upon the structure and support he received while at Sullivan House. Marc also credits his Twelve-step program sponsor which was pinnacle on his road to recovery. During his six month program at Sullivan, Marc got a job working as a barista at Starbucks. After five years of sobriety, Marc is slated to manage his own Starbucks store in Boston this year. Richard was pleased to add that “Marc is an amazing individual and interviews many people from our program to work with him.”

Marc continues to attend 2-3 Twelve-step program meetings per week and now lives in South Boston with his best friend he met at a meeting. His relationships with his family are stronger than ever and he now has aspirations to grow his career, purchase a condo and most of all… help more people.

MHSA Sullivan House

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