Felix Pulido’s early life was marked by obstacles and addiction, but that’s not where his story ends. Healing Transitions was a cornerstone, the turning point where he found recovery, hope and a future.
In foster care for his entire childhood, Felix was a product of a broken system. He found himself in over 20 foster homes before the age of 18.
“It was a constant battle to defend myself emotionally and physically. When I got comfortable, something happened, and I had to be removed and taken back to the facility. I got bounced around a lot. I learned to lie and became good at it. It was constant chaos, so that was the way to survive.”
As a young adult, he found himself in an unhealthy relationship. Although it was toxic, it was the first time he felt he had family. So he stayed. Drugs and alcohol became his coping mechanisms to handle his stress and hurt. He tells us he drank alcohol like water and became addicted to methamphetamines. Felix shares that if he didn’t have alcohol he became angry, and though the anger was justifiable at times, his addiction was a dangerous downward spiral. At the height of his addiction, Felix was at the lowest point in his life.
“There was a lot of sleeping in bus stations, a lot of dirty hotels, a lot of abuse from people. And a lot of times I felt like I deserved it. I did. I felt like I didn’t deserve anything better. So I let anybody treat me the way they wanted to.”
Felix’s path to Healing Transitions was not linear. He recalls a good samaritan who would often take him to detox facilities. Tired of seeing him relapse, she handed him a pamphlet from Healing Transitions and $20 – urging him to stop the vicious cycle of addiction. Felix faced a crucial decision – use the money for drugs or purchase a train ticket to Raleigh. He chose the latter, but upon his arrival, Felix got lost and wandered around inebriated. Fortunately, the Rapid Response team picked him up and brought him to Healing Transitions.
As he transitioned to life in the detox facility, Felix felt anxious and fearful about his future. Would he be able to give what the program required of him? Thankfully, a peer in the program, Ricky, reached out to him every day to encourage him to continue on. Ricky’s support helped Felix feel more at ease and comfortable in the shelter, despite his initial anxiety.
Felix also formed a strong bond with Hans, who later became his peer mentor. Hans motivated Felix to keep pushing forward even when he felt like quitting. The power of these connections played a pivotal role in Felix’s recovery and determination to stay on the path to healing.
Healing Transitions provided a safe space for him to confront and heal from his past traumas. Felix encourages others seeking treatment to “come with an open mind and trust that it’s not as bad as your brain is telling you. When you open your mind and heart, you’ll start seeing the love from people.”
Felix shares that the love and compassion you find at Healing Transitions can become a lifeline in your darkest moments. He emphasizes that Healing Transitions is more than just a facility; it’s a family, and the bonds formed there extend far beyond graduation day. His friends from Healing Transitions still remain crucial in his life.
“This is a family. Yeah, it is a really powerful family. I still keep in contact even though I live in Wilmington now,” he shares.
Life isn’t perfect and sobriety is hard, but having a reliable community makes all the difference. Felix admits, “Sometimes I’m running late for work and I’m getting aggravated. Or a coworker says something that I don’t agree with. But then I remember everything that I was taught here (at Healing Transitions), and I take a step back, right? And I take my hands off the wheel, and then I call my fellow alumni from HT or the staff. That’s the power of this program.”
Felix’s experiences have also inspired him to pursue a career in helping others. He now works at The Healing Place of New Hanover County in Wilmington, NC, a new rehab facility with the same model as Healing Transitions.
He spends time exercising, and he even started a group called F3 in Wilmington that focuses on faith, fellowship and fitness. Felix’s love of community has taught him that everyone is hurting – not just those struggling with addiction. Everyone has a story and needs love. This truth has shaped the new trajectory of his life.
“Yeah, it’s tough, but it gets better and I can prove it. I can prove it because it happened to me.”