The struggle with mental illness and addiction to drugs and alcohol can make for turbulent times in a person’s life. Bryan Meade, 46, has spent the last 30 years battling alcoholism and schizoaffective disorder, which is characterized by psychosis and depression. He attends daily Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, occasionally meets with a psychiatrist, and is a member at a local clubhouse for the mentally ill.

People with schizoaffective disorder are prone to addictions. In the past 30 years, Bryan has been hospitalized nine times — the first for an LSD-induced episode of schizophrenia, and the most recent for 72 hours this summer following a bout of depression.

Counselor Nalda Mills has been helping Bryan deal with the clutter in his apartment. “Nalda asked me, ‘Is it a hoarding thing, Bryan, or are you procrastinating or are you blocking?’ Maybe all three,” he said.

For three years, Bryan has been a member at Carrboro, N.C.’s Club Nova, a mental health organization based on the clubhouse model of the Fountain House in New York City. Members assist in running Club Nova’s meetings, culinary operations and a local thrift store.

Bryan, who has past experience as a chef, is very involved in the culinary unit at the clubhouse. "It's wearing me out. I'm trying to take on a vocational purpose (at the clubhouse) while I'm looking for other things," he said.

Culinary Unit Leader Lauren Hart meets with Bryan to plan upcoming menus. In addition to culinary work, Bryan also assists with the membership unit of the clubhouse. "I'm still a member but I'm working on getting paid to be here," he said. There is a part-time opening at the Club Nova Thrift Store, but Bryan said he has procrastinated in applying.

“I kind of get stuck in my routine and it can get a little hum drum,” Bryan said. He smokes cigarettes regularly, and his alcoholism has been constant through the years, but he will be three-years-sober this month.