Renée C. Byer /

Marc Berrier was bused to Seattle from Rawson-Neal psychiatric hospital in Las Vegas. He was an alcoholic and used to be homeless. He now has graduated from the addiction recovery program at the Seattle's Union Gospel Mission.

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A comeback story in Seattle

Published: Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013 - 12:00 am
Last Modified: Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013 - 6:15 pm

Marc Berrier wound up in Seattle following a “long, strange series of events,” he said.

Berrier, a native of Pennsylvania, said he is a college graduate who once held managerial jobs for beverage companies. The bottle brought him down, and following a series of DUIs in his home state he wound up homeless on the streets of Las Vegas.

“Sleeping outside in Vegas is very dangerous,” Berrier said. “Everything in Vegas is a hustle. You can’t trust anyone.”

He faked a mental illness, he said, to get a reprieve from the streets. Authorities took him to Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital, where he spent two weeks and received psychiatric medications. “It was a nice break,” he said.

The word among patients at the facility, he said, was that the hospital “would give you a ticket to anywhere.” He chose Washington state’s Emerald City “on a whim,” and after giving a caretaker the name and number of a fictitious uncle in Seattle, he got his bus ticket.

His Greyhound trip was a wild ride, he said. “I kept getting on and off,” and at one point he popped Xanax with some skateboarders who hopped onto his bus near Portland.

“I woke up at Harborview Hospital,” and later took up residence at the Union Gospel Mission’s men’s shelter, where he still lives. He is on his way, he said, to getting his life back together.

Of his experience at Nevada’s psychiatric hospital, Berrier said: “I’m glad everything worked out for me. But there were a lot of guys in there who weren’t getting any help. I wonder what’s happened to them.”

Photo gallery: Marc Berrier's story in pictures

– Cynthia Hubert

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