A Message of Hope

image Jesse

Before my time interning at Nuçi’s Space, I had been to the building multiple times for shows and one or two practices. I loved the atmosphere, and I loved what I knew of their mission. I had heard a brief story of how the organization was started because of a boy named Nuçi committing suicide, and how the name was in his honor. However, it wasn’t until this past Christmas break that I read Linda Phillip’s captivating book about the real story that I truly felt the depth of the love I have for this organization.

Knowing that I wanted to be involved in some way when I got back to school this semester, I requested that I might be placed with Nuçi’s Space for my required music business internship. I was then so lucky to have been able to get an internship with Debbie Watson here. Debbie and I met shortly after we got in touch, and I vividly remember after getting ready to leave our first conversation, she told me she was “a hugger”, and quickly embraced me.

Since the first day, I have always felt excitement and joy to walk through the doors and learn a little more every day. Debbie, being in charge of youth programs and development, taught me all about their program, Camp Amped. I learned about everything from grants and budget to what kind of sale Publix had on cookies when I was getting snacks for the kids at the Spring Session. Some days I would work on emails the entire time, and other days, we would just have meaningful conversation about our lives. Something that was meant to be like a job, became the least stressful part of my life, and I am forever thankful for this experience.

As an individual, I have struggled with mental illness over the last few years, and I still struggle to this day. It brings me so much joy and inspiration to see people with the world on their shoulders come out of this building looking a little lighter than they had been before. It was even more of an inspiration as a musician to see such young men and women chasing their passions by coming to play together at Camp Amped. These kids are far more talented than I could ever be, and it is utter joy to see them enjoying themselves, and becoming supports for each other. It feels like an unspoken camaraderie between so many people that we seek music to heal us in some way or another, and that is what Nuçi’s does for people like me. Seeing how people support each other when we cannot support ourselves is one of the most beautiful things that one can experience, and Nuçi’s Space’s team is always there to provide that for you, even if they don’t realize they are doing it.

It has been so humbling to work with such great people, and to see change happening within the community of Athens. I will be missing the constant friendship and conversation with the staff, and I know that I will be dropping by often. It has been comforting to see that beauty is born out of the darkest moments of life, and I hope that I can share this reminder with those who feel like hope is lost. Nuçi’s Space will stay with me forever, and I am proud to spread this message of hope to others, too. Thank you to Debbie. Thank you to Nuçi’s Space.

 

I Am Nuçi’s Space -Dusty Huggins: Ides of June

i am nucis image Ides of June

Momma’s Boy

I came into this world May 28th of the year of 1985—cock-eyed, as white as the winter snow, and with the electricity of all of North Georgia’s wild rivers running through my bones. I would call the woman who first held me my closest confidant until her final moments on this earth. I was her heaven, her hell, and her lifelong project for the next 27 years she dwelled on this earth. My brother, Cole, and I lived a life that was as up and down as the bipolar disorder that plagued her beautiful soul. At the age of three my mother and father would reach the point of divorce, a seemingly newfound commonplace for American families. A combination of a struggling alcoholic and a manic and muddled-minded woman were too much for any two young parents to overcome. I was not old enough to remember the three years of life I survived with the dysfunctional duo, but it was the next twenty-five that will forever be unforgettable. Early years are filled with memories of grand holidays and birthday celebrations at our grandmother’s, being the beloved step-children of many family members who reached out their hands to help, and battles between parents that I would not be able to understand until much later in life. Although we were not always impoverished, it would seem we were always fighting for survival. The confusion and disillusion from a decade of divorce battles between parents would be so incremental in our lives that this will be the only mention of such throughout this story that I call life.
By the time I was eighteen, my brother and I had already called over 30 houses home, 6 schools our place of attendance, and viewed many men and women in our family as Moms and Dads. Our mom’s mental disability was easily showcased through her unstable real estate career. At her highest point, our family owned multiple homes, new cars, and everything we needed materially. When she was down, our family would see the foreclosure of our house and would soon call our new car our new home – at least for a few days until the bank came calling for it also. Luckily, as she always did, Mom found a solution at the last minute in the form of a one-room studio apartment below a local pizzeria. Our childhood would be filled with her constant attempts of suicide, admittance into psyche wards, and the most gleeful and loving woman a son could ever know. I vividly remember her first suicide attempt like it was yesterday. Our dear Aunt Amy had us in her arms and tearfully told us that this would be the last time we would lay eyes upon her beauty. She would soon prove the doctors at the local hospital distinctively wrong as she made a full recovery and soon came back into our lives. Life was back to normal, or what we called normal. We would soon be off on to trips to the beach where we would spend all of our money and later pawn her jewelry to make it home. She was an epic and endlessly- loving woman. It was the ride of a lifetime.
On the other hand, our dad would spend Friday nights entertaining us with action movies, sparring between my brother and me to make us tougher while also providing a record player filled with every rock and roll album known to man. That is where I would originally find my passion for Rock. He would spend the rest of the weekend in bed recovering, while Cole and I would roam the mountains of the local wildlife areas looking for adventure. We would test the waters each weekend by venturing into new and unknown wildernesses. That is until Dad would wake up in search for us with a wild temper and a fuzzy mindset. Needless to say, we would put a halt to our adventures long enough for him to drink himself back into the drapes of his shade-filled master bedroom. The only likeness in our two parents was that they had as many aspirations for fun as they had unwanted commitments to a day in bed. Both would, for the most part, leave Cole and me to raise ourselves as we saw fit. The two were filled with immense amounts of love known only to parents, but with the battles they were enduring with their inner selves, they were unable to convey this love that I am sure they had always intended.
The only stable form of family that we knew as children was that of my Father’s parents, Tom and Sue Huggins. A simple, yet strong, Southern Baptist couple with a love for us that I will never be able to fathom. From the beginning, our Grandma and Granddad took us in as their own and did the best they could to shield us from as much pain and destruction as possible; I cannot imagine what life would have been without them. January 27th of the year 2000 stole this stable family unit I had come to know. I would get off of the school bus, as usual, to come home and find my Granddad sleeping in his chair, but on this day I discovered that Tom had left this world abruptly while watching the evening news. The lights and sirens were soon followed by the likes of my still struggling father. I remember him saying “Why not me”? A few years later I would see what he had meant as he attempted a suicide of his own. He awoke in the hospital surrounded by his mother, sisters, and brothers, unknowing of the events that had transpired. The family easily persuaded him to pursue a life of sobriety and he would, once again, be nonexistent in our lives for the next few years. Mom was left with an eldest who was bitter at the world and his younger sibling who was rebelliously desperate to prove to the realm of men that he was good enough to contend. For the next and only five years of our lives, Cole and I would separate ourselves from one another. I am still unsure if it was due to our overwhelming dependence on one another for the past fifteen years or simply a bitterness of our childhood that we both wanted to escape. Cole would give up collegiate scholarship opportunities in golf to spite our father, while I experimented in drug use to prove that I was different from the run of the muck “cool crowd.” My insubordinate behavior would lead to a suspension from high school two months before my graduation. My desperate youth would leave me to believe that it was fashionable to drink moonshine on a school field trip. Life was very confusing, to say the least.
That same year, Mom would endure her final blow from an emotional standpoint. Her youngest and closest brother would take his own life by noose at the age of thirty-two. She was in shambles. Her side of the family had always been riddled with trials, drug addiction, and penitentiaries; they were Mountain Outlaws to a T. She withstood her treacherous upbringing, but this epic event sent her into a frenzy of despair that she would battle for the next decade. Although she was in a massive haze of hopelessness, she would put me through real estate school in order to become her apprentice in the field. I persevered through school, though I despised it, and came home from Atlanta a licensed realtor. Soon after, I would meet the love of my life. I was twenty while she was seventeen years old and still in high school. Against her family’s wishes and, in spite of my local reputation, she accepted my wild ways and, and we fell in love in true teenage fashion. I would spend the next couple of years working in real estate surveying land, and partying with my closest friends. I had a nice car, my brother had recently built a new home on our father’s land, and I was in love. To say life was the best it had ever been would be an illimitable understatement.
In 2008, the Great Recession hit the North Georgia Mountains like a money sucking whirlwind. The real estate market tanked, homes went up for sale, and the foreclosure signs were soon to follow. I was out of a job in Real Estate and leaned on my background in land surveying to pay the bills. Soon enough there was a call to the back office of the surveying company owners and, I knew what was to follow: I was out of a job and a true failure in my own eyes. I began my trek home only to find myself too overwhelmed with tears to see the road. I finally found the gumption to call my brother, who, as he always had, reassured my ambitions to try my hand at a degree in higher education. My girlfriend had recently enrolled at Young Harris College and, I figured it was time for me to give it the ole college try. I would have the financial stability of a home through my brother’s highly successful landscaping company and created spending money through unemployment and a highly successful entrepreneurship as the local cannabis dealer. This came to an abrupt halt the day before my college orientation when the ATF decided they would make their move on my marijuana operation. After a mere weekend in jail, I knew that the outlaw lives my mother’s family had led was not for me. I then decided I would struggle through my college career, as most young students did, and gave up my extra curricula’s in weed sales for an associate’s degree in biology. In January of 2010 I graduated with Honors from Young Harris College and pointed my aim towards The University of Georgia (UGA) and a career in Optometry. The future seemed so very bright.
As I moved to UGA I left it all, too much, behind. My mother was in shambles that I was moving away, my love of five years and I decided to part ways, and the mountains I had called home for twenty-seven years were in my rearview. But, once again, there was one individual I could never part ways with—my brother Cole. He soon decided to rent a room at our new home in Athens and commuted back and forth on the weekends to visit. Soon enough he sold his business and chased his own dreams of a college degree. I was still in despair from my recent broken heart when I had the first soul wrenching loss of my life. We received a phone call that my grandmother had less than a week to live. To say that I took this badly would be a gross understatement. After all, she was 82 and had lived a remarkable life. Maybe that is why I took it so harshly. How could I lose the most remarkable, loving, and, stable individual I had ever known? I battled the loss of my grandmother like a gladiator of 300; I knew I had lost, yet I was unwilling to accept it. It was the darkest of times that I had endured to that point. I would reassume my drug-ridden ways, but this time I did not dip my toes; I threw myself into the deepest of ends headfirst and without a life jacket. The next year is a flickering film of late nights, missing morning classes and a blur of psychedelic visions that I can still not assure myself of their validity. I was awakened from my nightmare with the paralysis of a night terror. I recall my Uncle’s voice saying, “Your Mom is in the hospital again. It doesn’t look good son”. My brother and I had survived in excess of ten suicide attempts by our mother and routinely assumed she would pull through, as she always had. We would be grossly surprised by what we found the next day in the hospital. Brain dead from insulin injection. Mom was gone. As the oldest and strongest child, Mom willed Cole to make the decision if, and when, it had to be made. Against her family’s will, we made the choice to take her off of life support. Cole made the announcement. On the Ides of June in 2012, my mother would make her final exit. Life was over.
Although I was our mother’s baby, my brother took the loss with more despair than I could afford. As I attempted to make plans for her cremation and memorial, he fell into the abyss of mourning. I would come home one night to find Cole in tears. He would bare his soul to me that had done the unthinkable. After all of the death and desolation that suicide had cost us, he had made an attempt of his own. He had masterminded a plan and attempted it as well. He slit his wrists and began to run to the woods behind our apartment so I would not be able to find him myself. As he did, so he came to his senses and wrapped his wrists vigorously. As he told the story, we sobbed together. We sat silently for a time and soon found a watch and bracelets to conceal his wounds from the public’s eye. To this day, this is my first accounting of this event. In the coming days,  I would confront Cole with my anger over his decision and how much his absence would affect my life for eternity. He conveyed that he did not know what his life meant to mine, and we came to the mutual agreement that this would never occur again as long as we both shall live. I would spend the next few nights opening his bedroom door as quietly as possible to assure he was safe in his bed. We would both grow from this event as brothers, but we still had many mountains to overcome. This is the part of the tale when champions of old make their epic reentrance back into the storyline.
Our father, 6 years sober, came to save the day, as we were incapable of doing so ourselves. In all of our lives,  there are occasions when we must release the reigns and let another lead for a time; this was one of them. With no financial means of our own to cremate Mom, our Dad helped me make arrangements that I was not capable of doing alone. He helped us put our mom to rest and began building ideals of a family reunion. He would work into the wee hours of the morning in search of a home to buy so he and his two boys could make another stab at a family. Months later, he would succeed in this endeavors and Cole and I would run from UGA to be with him and our new home in Atlanta, Georgia.

My newest and greatest friend Clay McConnell would join us, as he was also looking to move to the area. I began a mediocre job at a local distribution center and drank my sorrow away at night with my new best friend. We shared in our love for music and also in our desperate need for completion. Clay bought a guitar and I borrowed my uncle’s bass and we were ready to roll; we would start a rock band! Little did we know, playing rock and roll took work, work, and more work. We did not concern ourselves too much with the work as we were keeping our minds occupied with something that we loved dearly. We had the passion of the night to drive us, plus the distractions from the light to hide us. Looking back, I am thankful that there was no one around, besides my brother and dad. Those nights held off notes, chords that would make a cat cry, and brotherly fights rooted in our incapable hands and musical knowledge. Unfortunately, the distractions of music and alcohol could only hold my attention for a short time. My restless nights were spent wondering how God could do such a thing to a human being that he called his child. I despised life beyond music and my closest friends. I buried myself in a bottle and contemplated my own exit from this world on numerous occasions. If not for my promise to my brother, I just may have. Life seemed impossible, unfair, and not worth living.
Clay soon moved back to our hometown of Blairsville, Georgia as he had found a new love of his own. A young girl with a pretty smile could tempt him to the mountains, but could not draw his attention from our musical aspirations. We would sharpen our musical abilities while we were apart. When given the chance we would spend our sleepless hours discussing our newest discoveries in music theory, the next moves in our, so called, band, and our dream of playing live.

Clay worked nights at a local retirement home, and I despised being in the darkness alone, so we would reform our bond and strengthen our musical vocabulary. For the first time, we enjoyed every moment we were to share in our musical kinship; it was my saving grace. During Clay’s ventures back to the mountains I found a life of weekly sobriety that did not need alcohol to find a good night’s rest. My brother was now a positive advocate of weekday sobriety, and I would fall into suit, as nothing else was working. I would soon find that I was constantly being promoted at work, on the verge of gaining a Bachelor’s in business management, and finally becoming happy with myself. My brother was in school, my father and I were working, and I felt secure for the first time in my life. It was time to get down to business. With my newfound clarity, I would begin to spend more and more time picking, writing, and honing my newly found addiction as much as possible. As Clay’s newly found love weakened, he would make his way back to Atlanta, and we renewed our endeavors for a Rock and Roll band together. Before, we did not even understand the language of music. But now, we were, at least, Neanderthals that could pass interpretative grunts back and forth to convey our musical meanings. Months later we would meet a friend, and soon brother in music, Justin Nelson. He and a local studio owner with immense talent, Mike Rosenfeld, would begin a musical journey together. We began building songs and ideas of what music we would like to make. Within a year “The Ides of June” would make their first attempt at live music. I remember a brief moment of being content after our first show. The feeling of playing in front of a crowd was blurry, electrifying, and soon, over, as was our original goal of playing a live gig. We were as amateur as they came, but to have climbed that mountain, three years after picking up an instrument, was epic. After that fleeting moment, I realized many things. Of the most important recognitions, I realized that it is not the goal or event we always look forward to that matters so very much, but it is the journey we travel to reach that mountain. After this

I would soon find that I was constantly being promoted at work, on the verge of gaining a Bachelor’s in business management, and finally becoming happy with myself. My brother was in school, my father and I were working, and I felt secure for the first time in my life. It was time to get down to business. With my newfound clarity, I would begin to spend more and more time picking, writing, and honing my newly found addiction as much as possible. As Clay’s newly found love weakened, he would make his way back to Atlanta, and we renewed our endeavors for a Rock and Roll band together. Before, we did not even understand the language of music. But now, we were, at least, Neanderthals that could pass interpretative grunts back and forth to convey our musical meanings. Months later we would meet a friend, and soon brother in music, Justin Nelson. He and a local studio owner with immense talent, Mike Rosenfeld, would begin a musical journey together. We began building songs and ideas of what music we would like to make. Within a year “The Ides of June” would make their first attempt at live music. I remember a brief moment of being content after our first show. The feeling of playing in front of a crowd was blurry, electrifying, and soon, over, as was our original goal of playing a live gig. We were as amateur as they came, but to have climbed that mountain, three years after picking up an instrument, was epic. After that fleeting moment, I realized many things. Of the most important recognitions, I realized that it is not the goal or event we always look forward to that matters so very much, but it is the journey we travel to reach that mountain. After this premonition I reveled in the moment for a brief second, then set new goals. The stages of life, at least my life, move in this manner.
As long as I can remember there have been older, and wiser, individuals giving me pieces of advice that I would readily brush off, as I knew it all. As I made my own mistakes and had my own realizations, I grew. Instead of stages in life being framed in my mind as, becoming a teenager, getting a license, graduating college, I look back on these grand epiphanies I had. Much of my childhood anguish was built around not being cognizant of my surroundings and how the world was unfolding around me. I was in a hurry from the onset and refused, for the most part, to take advice from the majority individuals. I remember being 20 years old and not being able to take any criticism, constructive or otherwise, from anyone close to me without bursting into tears and lashing back out with negative comments of my own. This was until my brother calmly said, “Dusty, what is wrong man? Why can’t we have a discussion about something that bothers me without you being in defense mode?” At that moment I realized I was being unstable and unfair.

That was when I opened my mind and started looking at life more as a philosopher and a giver, rather than the fashion of woe is me. He pushed me into this, but I HAD to realize it myself. During my expulsion from school, I did not realize its significance or, for that matter, care that I had until I arrived home to hear my mother crying to my grandmother on the telephone that she had failed as a parent. Her doubt in her achievements as a parent affected me and conveyed that I was responsible for more than myself. My actions took a toll on all of those around me. My mother’s constant suicide attempts always seemed to me like cries for help and attention. After she achieved her goal I realized how truly in agony she had been for so long. I wished so dearly that she could see how much we missed her, as I still feel she wanted us to know. I wish she could have the realization that she was truly loved and is still extremely missed by numerous souls. Her actions will ripple through my existence forever. I realized she was truly gone. After years of lying in the bed filled with tears and missing her, I finally had the epiphany that this was something that must be done. I could never have moved on with my life without a mourning period in which to do so. This was not an epiphany that came to me while I was lying in bed crying. It came to me as I sat on my porch in the sunlight with my acoustic guitar. I looked down at the guitar my best of friends had all chipped in to buy for my birthday and smiled. I was loved. The sun was shining. I was playing music. Life was okay. The realization that life is not a fairytale written in books was of the most importance. To have the consciousness that the sun shedding its light on my skin sent a wave of dopamine and endorphins through my

My actions took a toll on all of those around me. My mother’s constant suicide attempts always seemed to me like cries for help and attention. After she achieved her goal I realized how truly in agony she had been for so long. I wished so dearly that she could see how much we missed her, as I still feel she wanted us to know. I wish she could have the realization that she was truly loved and is still extremely missed by numerous souls. Her actions will ripple through my existence forever. I realized she was truly gone. After years of lying in the bed filled with tears and missing her, I finally had the epiphany that this was something that must be done. I could never have moved on with my life without a mourning period in which to do so. This was not an epiphany that came to me while I was lying in bed crying. It came to me as I sat on my porch in the sunlight with my acoustic guitar. I looked down at the guitar my best of friends had all chipped in to buy for my birthday and smiled. I was loved. The sun was shining. I was playing music. Life was okay. The realization that life is not a fairytale written in books was of the most importance. To have the consciousness that the sun shedding its light on my skin sent a wave of dopamine and endorphins through my

The realization that life is not a fairytale written in books was of the most importance. To have the consciousness that the sun shedding its light on my skin sent a wave of dopamine and endorphins through my body unlike any drug I had ever done. I realized this moment of awareness was what life was all about. There will always be highs and lows, but without the night, we unintentionally discount the beauty of the light. I truly believe that we lose ourselves in the darkest of times, but in these dark times is when we truly find ourselves. We must allow ourselves to revel in these dark times, but not forever. We are doing our lives a great disservice if we do not put massive efforts into not letting the darkness eclipse our light. Beauty is right in front of us, but it is easily overseen without a conscious eye.
I would like to assert that I am a firm believer in therapy of many sorts. I found mine in the power of music and in the love of all those around me. The power of words, love, and compassion cannot be overlooked or overstated. I strongly encourage each and every individual to find his or her hunger in life. It is never too late to stop and take a step back. I was 27 years old and had to endure my mother’s death before I found mine. Please do not make the same mistake. Life without desire can be tolerable, but life with aspiration is beyond extravagance. It may be a family. It may be art. It may be a career. Maybe it is all of the above. Find yourself and chase it as you deem fit. This life is yours to live. Go. Live. It!

All of my love,
Dusty Huggins

I am Nuçi’s Space – Volunteer Hannah Thomas

Image Dave Chamberlin and Hannah Thomas

Nuçi’s Space is a true, bona fide community. To me, the most marked characteristic of Nuçi’s Space isn’t the beautiful, industrial-chic building that may as well breathe – it is the people; people who fill the space with care and big, boundless welcomes.

 

I’ve been a volunteer with Nuçi’s Space since August of last year (2016). When I was a Freshman at UGA the year before, I remember taking pictures outside of its building I knew nothing about. The exterior is as interesting, artistic, and eclectic as the people within; really, I think it’s a perfect fit and an absolute reflection. I love volunteering in the way of community work and have been doing so since high school because I love plugging into where I live and giving something of my own to it. Being relatively new to Athens, Nuçi’s Space was just another way to make that connection, and I am so grateful I’ve been able to do so.

 

For me, the joy of being at Nuçi’s Space has been less about Athens and more about the passion that comes from inside this space. I never considered the benefits of being near the turning cogs of a non-profit, but because the leaders of Nuçi’s Space make their mission and their community number one, witnessing the benefits of this musician’s community is a joy. I’ve gravitated toward community work for as long as I can drive, and witnessing people whose personal missions are giving back day-in and day-out make me believe that one day, I can be a person who works for that purpose, too. As college students, our eyes are often turned to profit and accumulation; we better get some kickback from that expensive college degree, or what was the point? But the point, as modelled by the staff at Nuçi’s Space, is that our personal communities can function from love, understanding, outreach, and personal expression. All of these qualities of life are aspects that Nuçi’s Space practices, and provides to others who come in its doors.

 

And, from a personal perspective, these qualities are constructed none more so than by the friends I’ve made at Nuçi’s Space – the staff. I can’t impress how genuine each person is. Of course, they’re all individuals and not to be generalized, but I haven’t come across a humbler or more loving group of people. Whether it’s a passing welcome from behind the counter, or a staff member eating lunch with me to keep me company, or a staff member offering me a chocolate chip muffin just because, the people of Nuçi’s Space are who feed its breathing walls. I like to look at the picture of Nuçi (who now would be in his forties) when my back is turned on the receptionist’s desk. It’s a magical, encapsulated grasp of youth, that picture of him in a field. Youth fades, and as we know only too well, so does life. What doesn’t fade is one’s effect on the world. It isn’t lost on me that the reason anyone within Nuçi’s Space gets to be together is Nuçi, whose effect on the world spreads every day in Athens and elsewhere. My time at college, and most likely at Nuçi’s Space, is part of my own magical, encapsulated grasp at youth – it’s only a moment. There will be so many more, so many others. But a moment or a soul is by no means ended when we leave it or when it leaves us, as we know so well with Nuçi, and the people I’ve met and befriended, and the memories I’ve made, I will carry forever.

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I am Nuçi’s Space

We want to share stories of how our staff and programs help our community. Below is a letter from a member of our community that has after much trial and error began to see hope for a brighter day. She said, she can  feel happy,  for the first time in years.

We commend her hard work,  patience, determination and wish only continued success.

We are always here to help.

“I’ve been severely depressed and suicidal since I can remember and have been through countless therapists and psychiatrists and finally gave up the search for the right person and the right medications in my thirties, seventeen years ago. After a two year suicidal depression in my forties, I finally decided to seek help again and turned to Nuci’s Space, in crisis and at the end of my rope.

Your team was conscientious and kind, understanding that I feared getting help again as most of the time the medications were as bad as the depression for me, and guided me through it. The team at Nuçi’s Space, Dr. Orr, Family Counseling Services, and my therapist, Mike, have all been incredible. Here I am a little over a year and though admittedly, many tries at different medications later, and I can finally say that I am no longer depressed, and most certainly not suicidal.

Dr. Orr put me on a new anti-depressant a month ago and in the last two weeks as it’s reached efficacy I have experienced an enjoyment of the things and the people around me, happiness, contentment, functionality, clear-headedness. Things that I had begun to think were not ever possible for me. Things I had given up on. I am writing this letter to let other know that they are not alone. That yes, the long process of finding the right medications for your particular brain chemistry can be grueling and frustrating, but keep trying. I wouldn’t trade these last two weeks for anything in the world. Once you find the right ones, life is possible again and no longer merely a struggle to keep up. I never thought it could happen, but it has.

Thank you for all that you do. Thank you for saving my life.

(Name removed) ”

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The Musician’s Oasis

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Nuçi’s Space Youth Outreach

For one week I was lucky enough to be Debbie Watson’s intern at Nuçi’s Space. I helped her organize Camp Amped information, and worked with her in recording donations. My favorite part of it all was watching her and her colleagues speak to various people about how the organization got started, and what keeps it going. You can see that it is well supported; there is a wall covered in records displaying their primary donor’s names.

Nuçi’s Space is a non-profit organization, so donations are a main part of the money that comes in. They also have a summer camp for middle and high school students. This is a great way for young people to get involved with music and bands.

Nuçi’s Space gives off a happy vibe to anyone who comes in; I see that every day. Perhaps you need to talk to someone about what’s on your mind, or you’re just in for a good cup of coffee. Maybe you want to reserve a practice room for you and your band mates, or have a meeting about an issue you have within the group. Nuçi’s Space provides versatile services for anyone and everyone.

My experience at Nuçi’s Space was fantastic. I would recommend to any aspiring musicians to give Nuçi’s Space a try. You never know, maybe you’ll find music to be your true passion.

Audrey Enghauser
Athens Montessori Middle School

I am Nuçi’s Space

We want to share stories of how our staff and programs help our community. Below is a letter from a member of our community that has been a year sober. We commend their hard work and wish them continued success. We are always here to help.

Thank you, Lesley and everyone involved in keeping our community well.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Hello Lesley,

I wanted to thank Nuci’s Space and you in particular for being instrumental in facilitating the beginning of my recovery process in January of 2016. Last week, on January 14, 2017, I picked up a blue chip in AA. I would have never believed I could experience a year without substance let alone a day. It has been a tremendous year of growth, discovery and made a world of difference in my life.

When I walked through the door at Nuci’s Space last year a broken human being, I was entirely without resource. Facing the insurmountable expense of attending the six-week treatment program at The Athens Area Commencement Center, I was without direction. That is until I remembered my community of Athens, GA is blessed by the presence of a first-class musician’s outreach center in Nuci’s Space.

You played an integral and unforgettable role in connecting me with Music Cares in Nashville who provided a support grant that covered 50% of the cost of treatment. I can’t underscore the importance of having you make this connection because I would have otherwise never known about it. That grant, coupled with the support of my friends and family through a GoFundMe.com capital campaign, saw to it that I would enter the program, graduate successfully and go on to maintain a year’s sobriety (and counting).

I have been transformed as a person, a father, a husband, a musician and a human being as a result of your assistance. I understand that making and maintaining the commitment has been my choice, however, were it not for Nuci’s Space, I’m fairly certain I’d still be out there in active addiction.

Following treatment at AACC, you also facilitated a subsidized, 12-session counseling period at the Carson Center for which I am also grateful. Once the veil of abuse has been lifted, there remains a lot of work to be done on the mind. I was able to benefit greatly from these counseling sessions which helped to stabilize and enrich my quality of life.

I am the father of a 3 year old son. If not only for myself, my sobriety is profound for his benefit as he will never know his father to be suffering in active addiction.

In short, Nuci’s Space is a beautiful, compassionate, caring and hugely significant institution in this community and beyond. To you I give thanks and deserved praise.

Keep doing what you’re doing. Stories like mine will continue to visit you ten fold.

Best,

(name removed)

I am Nuçi’s Space – Lesley Cobbs

This week’s “I am Nuçi’s Space” story is from Lesley Cobbs, our own Counseling Advocate.

If you or someone you know would like to contribute your story, please let us know. The greatest gift you can give to one suffering from depression is the gift of hope, and your story will help – You are Nuçi’s Space.

Lesley Cobbs