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Holiday Hope: Veteran gets help for 30-year addiction through area nonprofit
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Janice Modisett, resident housing supervisor, speaks about the benefits veterans and other people in need get from Avita Community Partners. The agency helps victims with mental health problems, addictions, developmental disabilities and other crisis situations. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Avita Community Partners

Main office: 4331 Thurmon Tanner Parkway, Flowery Branch

Phone: 678-513-5700, 800-525-8751

Website: www.gamtns.org

“I was having some trouble with the police, some misdemeanors. Ms. Nikki Allemani came to me, and I had nowhere to go,” he said.

Allemani is the coordinator for Hall County’s Veterans Court, which began in July. Davis started in the program in September and acquired housing from Avita Community Partners.

Avita also helps Davis with medication and transportation as he combats a 30-year alcohol addiction, depression and anxiety.

Davis, who said he served six years in the Army in the late 1970s and early 1980s, kept to himself for a long time.

“I just kept myself isolated and didn’t get out to any social events. I didn’t go to nothing. I just stayed secluded to myself and just drank,” he said, adding he was also homeless for a number of years.

Davis now undergoes treatment three days per week and submits to random drug and alcohol screenings. He is grateful for the newly created accountability court and Avita for getting his life on track.

“It has given me so much insight on my addiction and my behavior and how I lived in the past. It has brought me out of the darkness that I was living in,” he said. “They’ve helped me a great deal.”

Janice Modisett, Avita’s residential housing supervisor, is a former Army wife who knows firsthand about problems suffered by those in the military.

“What most of these veterans need is the mental health and the substance abuse part of it,” she said.

Davis listed two short-term goals: maintaining his leasing agreement with Avita and finding a new pickup truck.

Juggling work and treatment became too much for Davis, he and Modisett said, so he had to end his employment to focus on recovery.

“The hours and stuff and me sleeping and getting rest wasn’t working out. I was working a little more than my age required,” Davis said.

David said he always heard negative things about aid for veterans, and was surprised about the network available to help him.

“I finally just decided to give this a shot, give it a go at it. ... I couldn’t continue to fight a losing battle by myself,” he said. “I needed more ammunition. I’ve got a lot of ammunition now.”

The temporary permanent housing, Modisett said, receives funding through the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“He can stay in this program as long as he wants to be here. He leaves whenever he feels like, ‘I’m ready to be on my own,’” Modisett said.

State Court Judge B.E. Roberts III presides over Veterans Court, which has a partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“They talk to Judge Roberts about their progress or their lack thereof,” Avita regional director Steve Sorrells said. “Sometimes they’re congratulated and move forward within the program, and sometimes if they struggle they get some admonishment and some encouragement as well.”

To other veterans that may need help, Davis said programs can lead back to the right track.

“It will work,” he said. “You’ve got to apply yourself to it and you’ll see positive results.”

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