Addiction. Abuse. A feeling of helplessness. Eric Harazi knows these conditions all too well.

He also knows there are many people like him, suffering in silence, too scared to ask for help. Now after years of treatment, he’s reaching out to them with a simple but powerful message: “You are cared for.”

Harazi is the founder of Coherently Aware Now (CAN), an organization dedicated to getting people into the treatment programs best designed to deal with their specific issues.

It’s been a long and rough road to this point. Ten years ago, when he was 30, Harazi was drugged and assaulted. This started a pattern of abuse that lasted for many years. He went into several treatment centers, working to break the cycle. Harazi calls his story one of “Trauma to Triumph” and wants to help others on their journey.

“This all came about while I was in a residential outpatient program in Nashville,” he said. “This was probably my fifth program by then. I felt there was no one to speak up for clients and I was also having trouble with funding for myself.”

It was when he saw similar stories that he came up with the CAN concept.

“I saw a site where incoherent women were being sexually assaulted. The cops couldn't do anything and I was so frustrated. I kept saying the word ‘incoherent’ and I thought ‘well I'm coherent and very aware now,’ and that's how the name happened.”

Having been through several treatment centers and programs, Harazi knows there is no one-size-fits-all. The goal of CAN is to match a person with a program that is best suited to deal with their problems, and hopefully avoid a long journey like Harazi’s. “There are some places that are just not the right fit for your experiences and that is OK.

The tricky part is knowing that and understanding that this is your recovery; speak up and know what you deserve. That's what CAN is here for. We will walk with you side-by-side to make sure you feel safe, heard and that the therapy is up to par.”

In addition to helping people with long-term addiction and abuse problems, CAN also knows this past year has been mentally crushing for first responders.

They are reaching out to them as the COVID-19 crisis continues.

“This is so in need right now. Frontline workers are seeing things every day that are traumatic and will leave a mark on them,” Harazi said. “What is the best way to show appreciation than to say ‘we care about your mental health.’”

CAN is close to celebrating its first anniversary, and in its second year plans to continue fundraising (depending on insurance, it costs about $30,000 per client) and building a network with treatment centers to best match up patients.

During its first year of fundraising, CAN aims to raise upwards of $800,000 to launch its program in 2021. The goal for the first year is to reach 25 individuals in need of treatment.

And for anyone who reads this, Harazi has these words of encouragement: “Life is not about being 100% every moment, it's about being in the moment at any percentage. There are resources and people who understand you.” 


Visit TheSafeCircle.org to donate or for more information.


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