Speaking French and Arabic, Abay journeyed to the United States to escape political strife in his home country of Libya. He first settled in Georgia and later relocated to Central Florida. Once in Orlando, Abay found work as a taxi cab driver. During this time he developed an alcohol habit, which led to a full blown addiction. As the addiction took over, he lost his apartment and the life he knew. Now homeless, he turned to the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Floridathe first step in getting his life back on track.

When asked what changes he noticed within himself since entering the Coalition’s First Steps Substance Abuse Recovery Program, Abay responds with a simple answer: “personal responsibility.” A sense of personal responsibility is a big part of recovery, he explains. “Without recovery, I will have no life. People must want it, in order to make it work.”

After relapsing once, Abay is now back in recovery, proving that he does want to turn his life around. With his recent degree in International Affairs, he would like to return to Libya now that the political climate has changed. He also has hopes of starting a program for addicts like himself. This may prove difficult, however, since alcohol is illegal in his country and others may be unwilling to admit to such an addiction. With the help he’s gotten from the Coalition, he’s willing to take on the challenge.

Abay is very grateful to the Coalition, sharing, “They give you the tools to get back on your feet. They help you to be a man.” He believes the Coalition is helping to clear the baggage from his past in order to move on to a greater future.