American House gave John a new start

After 25 years without a stable home, numerous stints in jail and numerous attempts at treatment for addiction, John Fritz managed to get sober while still living on the streets, but having housing and support at Beacon’s American House changed everything.

He said he was once somebody who lived on the streets, sporting a big beard and begging for change on street corners.

“Staying sober and having a place gave the doctors and social workers time to find out what makes me tick,” John said. “American House also gave me the experience of living with people using, and I didn’t have to. It taught me that I could do this.”

After 13 months there, John was ready to move out into his own place. He’s had a girlfriend for two years (“my first sober relationship,” he notes) and he has reconnected with his adult children and grandchildren.

Oh, and he has a place for his pigs. Somehow during his itinerant years John managed to hang on to a collection of pigs made of ceramic, wood, plastic, fabric -- you name it. Now they, too, have a home in a china cabinet in his St. Paul apartment.

“American House was a major stepping stone. Life is good,” John said. 

Photo credit: Rebecca Zenefski