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Conquering mental illness: Monica Potts’ Skid Row success story

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This is where Monica Potts used to sleep, at the corner of 5th and Crocker Streets on Skid Row downtown
This is where Monica Potts used to sleep, at the corner of 5th and Crocker Streets on Skid Row downtown

For decades, Monica Potts called a tent on the corner of 5th and Crocker on Skid Row home.  Today, she works across the street, at a place called LAMP, where she counsels others to help get off the street.

How did this nearly 50 year old woman finally conquer mental illness, drug addiction, and homelessness?  Force of will, medication, and counseling, she says — lots of counseling.

“I was disconnected and distorted, and that drove me to the substance I was using, but after being in a healthy setting, and having someone give me a different view, I started to look at things a little differently,” she told me.  “Some of my esteem returned.  I was more motivated to try something new.”

And now, after 8 years sober, getting married, and moving into a stable home, she’s excited about her work helping others on Skid Row make the same leap.

I talked to her in her office and then across the street from it, at the corner she used to call home.  Here’s our conversation:

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A poem by Monica Potts