Thadius Lindsey, in front of his place of employment, Unhooked Recovery
The Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) reentry team helps individuals who are incarcerated or have previously been incarcerated to prepare for successful reentry into their communities through employment and other supportive resources.
Thadius Lindsey, 27, sought out employment resources from the Community Based Reentry Center (CBRC) in Mesa while on probation and as a patient at Unhooked Recovery — a substance abuse treatment center that caters to the needs of men and women suffering from substance use and co-occurring disabilities.
Thadius was abused as a child and was placed in foster care when he was just eight years old. At a very young age, drugs became commonplace for him, and his drug use later led him to become involved with more crimes.
"I've been on probation since I was 18 years old," said Thadius, who has been charged with burglary, possession of illegal substances and paraphernalia, and aggravated assault.
After his assault charge in July of 2021, he served six months in county jail. Despite several failed attempts in the past, Thadius became determined to give sobriety and rehabilitation another try — not just for himself, but for his family.
The day after he was released from jail in January 2022, he found his footing with Unhooked Recovery, as well as the Mesa CBRC. DES Rehabilitation Counselor, Cinamon Cotter, — who has been helping clients at the Mesa office for the last two years — visits organizations, like Unhooked Recovery, to talk about the services DES has to offer.That's when Thadius voluntarily jumped at the opportunity to participate in the reentry employment program.
"They (Unhooked Recovery) have people who are interested in employment fill out our intake forms," Cinamon said. "I'll review the referrals and I'll meet with the individuals one-on-one and we determine if ARIZONA@WORK is something they want to participate in."
Through Cinamon and the CBRC, Thadius received career counseling services like resume building and research into job leads. He was also given bus passes for transportation and guidance on how to find short-term employment while he worked up to a career.
"I could tell that she cared a lot. She definitely listens, and was interested in helping me out," Thadius said about Cinamon. "It wasn't like she was just trying to do her job; it was more like she's actually trying to help me out, so I appreciated that more than anything."
Thadius in the kitchen at Unhooked Recovery
Throughout all the job searching and employment leads, it's ironic that Thadius ended up obtaining employment where his path to recovery began at Unhooked Recovery. He was doing so well during his treatment the nonprofit hired him as a cook.
"If I didn't get the job at Unhooked, then Cinamon would've gone out of her way to make sure that she could help me out and get me set up," Thadius said.
He was also able to explore other professions he may be interested in for a more long-term employment option through ARIZONA@WORK's career exploration assessments. Cinamon and the staff at the CBRCs will help clients find short-term work and celebrate the accomplishment, but services are also available to help clients like Thadius see the larger picture and find something they truly love doing.
In Thadius' case, he hopes to one day become a counselor to give back to those who find themselves in a similar situation.
"The only way to get your life back is being uncomfortable and doing the next right thing. There's this quote I've been living by: ‘If you do what's easy, life will be hard. If you do what's hard, life will be easy,'" Thadius said. "Sobriety is where the hard part comes in. But if you do that next best thing, and the next right thing and constantly get out of your comfort zone, life will [get easier]."
For more information about the DES Reentry Program, visit the Reentry page.