Offering Hope, Choice & Opportunity

Stories of Hope & Recovery

Prime Time is a Clubhouse where we all help one another. It’s like one super-sized family that keeps on growing.


My name is Elizabeth, I was born on March 6, 1986. Years before I experienced mental illness, I had a very traumatic life that no child should ever go through. At age 6 my biological mother took me away from a caring, loving, hard-working father. My mom and step-father moved me, my little brother and little sister to Florida, that’s when the physical, emotional, verbal and sexual abuse started.

In middle school I never wanted to go home after school. I would run away from home and the cops would bring me back where my step-father and mother would lie to them and make up reasons why I would run away. After the cops left I remember my step-father grabbing me by my back of the hair, throwing me into the living room wall, causing me to leave a hole. I remember my mom sitting and doing nothing, just minding her own business. I still remember the time he slammed my head on the side of the fridge over and over until I passed out. While in middle school, I cried to my mother about him sexually abusing me, but she didn’t believe me at all.

I went to one High School and my little sister went to a different one. The physical, emotional, verbal and sexual abuse continued. I never knew what mental illness was till I started cutting myself, not sleeping or sleeping a lot and eating and making myself throw up. One day I skipped school and my step-father and mother went through my belongings. They had me committed to a hospital. I was scared. That’s when I learned I had a mental illness. My family still continued to treat me like garbage, saying that I was no good, always putting me down. I didn’t have friends or anyone to talk to. I was home on holidays but I wasn’t allowed to go shopping with them. 

When we moved to North Carolina, I finished up my only year of high school and graduated. I had plans to go to college but I would have to do it on my own, so I didn’t go. One day my sister had her boyfriend over till 2:00 am. I tried to go to sleep but I couldn’t, so I took a whole bottle of Xanax to sleep. I woke up in the E.R. with my step-father and mother saying I was trying to kill myself, I was trying to explain I was not, that I was trying to get to sleep but I couldn’t because of my sister and her boyfriend. It didn’t go well for me. I was taken from the ER in handcuffs to a psych hospital. I was there almost a month. After 1 1/2 weeks I was ready to go home. There was a meeting with the doctor, my step-father and mother, and they said I wasn’t ready to go home yet. A couple of days later we went through the same thing and a week later I was finally released.

My step-father and mother wanted me out of their home, away from them and the family since I was nothing but an issue for them. I moved back to CT so I could get to know my dad and step-mom. My step-mom hooked me up with Western CT Mental Health Network and told me about the Prime Time Clubhouse. My doctor put a referral in and I have been a member of Prime Time since 2008/2009. Prime Time is a Clubhouse where we all help one another. It’s like one super-sized family that keeps on growing. Prime Time has helped me to be more open with my dad and mom and it’s shown me I can be myself and not what others want me to be. I am who I am. I am my own person. I will continue working on me, myself and I hope to go back to school where I had left off.  
Prime Time showed me how to cope with situations that made me feel bad,


Linda was born on December 26, 1962, in Torrington, Connecticut. She grew up in the Winsted and Torrington area. Linda was in special education for most of her childhood. She has mental illness, and suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. “I used to have suicidal thoughts,” she says. “I still do, but not as bad. I also suffer from depression, and I have short-term memory loss.

“I got married at a very young age,” explains Linda. “I was 15 when I said ‘I do.’ I had my first son, Bill, when I was just 16. A year later I got divorced. My daughter Nicole was born on November 24, 1982. In my late twenties and early thirties, I had all the signs of paranoid schizophrenia, so my husband Paul went to the library and read up about the symptoms. That’s how I discovered that I had mental illness. Because of my illness, my family helped me out with my son. I tried going to college to better myself. However, with the mental illness I couldn’t understand, so I quit. Nikki was 2 when I met Paul, and he has been her father ever since. David was born to Paul and I on July 31, 1985. Paul became close with both Nikki and David. I had a hard time raising my kids because I was sick. I stayed in bed all day and all night. I couldn’t do anything. I don’t remember raising them, but I knew they were safe. My sister-in-law took care of all the children.”

“When my children were growing up they needed to do things for themselves, even at a young age, because I was so sick. I used to do my own thing to feel better about myself. Nikki once told me that I used to think people were out to get me, all the time. Now my children are older. My older son, William, has a beautiful daughter, and Nikki has a daughter and a son, and David has a daughter, Julia.”

“Back in 2010 I went to Charlotte Hungerford Hospital on the 7th floor, and I met a friend who told me about a place called Prime Time House. I talked to Prime Time, and here I am, 9 years later! The clubhouse has saved my life by helping me get out of bed and away from the four walls and the TV. Prime Time taught me to count money, sell lunch tickets, speak up in House Meetings, and speak up for myself. I can socialize with members and bring out how I feel. My son David recently became very, very sick. If this had happened before I came to Prime Time, I probably couldn’t have handled it as well as I did. Prime Time showed me how to cope with situations that made me feel bad, like my son getting so sick. My three children are my life, and my wonderful husband Paul! That is my story.”


YES, mental illness and addiction are difficult, but it’s our responsibility to support each other and stay the course.


My name is Don. I was born and raised here in Torrington, CT.  My earliest memories were happy ones with my parents, I was an only child. Life was good until I went out into the world. I was overweight and picked on by other kids. I became very angry and withdrawn. Music became my savior. My parents were singers and my earliest memories were wonderful. Dad sang and mom played guitar. I stayed to myself, listening to music all the time. I taught myself drums, guitar and bass as well as piano. I was a very good student until I reached high school. I still had a weight problem but I found a way to deal with it. Alcohol and drugs. 

This is how I escaped my reality.

My grades began to suffer. I spent all of my free time in the music room. It paid off. I was voted class musician. I went to work at age 16 and was always a hard worker. I played in bands, got married, and started a family. Unfortunately, I “gave them away” due to my addiction. As you know, alcohol and drugs alter your brain chemistry. Even when you stop. It is very difficult to repair any damage to your mental condition, especially if you start as young as I did. That is why medications and therapy are so important.  I have given away everyone that ever loved me because of this disease. 

These days I put out positive vibes to the universe. Jesus is my lord and savior. I spend most of my free time studying the bible. That is how you get to know him. He sees what you do. Of my four children, one remains in my life and my daughter has recently contacted me. I haven’t seen her in 4 years. What a Christmas present!

Due to my addiction and mental illness, I was unable to maintain my home. The bank foreclosed in July. I was devastated. I chose to drink and use cocaine. I ended up on the 7th floor at Charlotte Hungerford. After that I went through the partial hospital program, and the dual diagnosis program. I then came here to Prime Time. Prime Time has been wonderful. I’ve made many friends. The staff are all hard working and they really care about the members. I remain drug and alcohol free. My sobriety date is July 27, 2019. I chair the Friday night AA. meetings on our campus.  Remember; don’t do what I did. I isolated and then relapsed.