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Updated: May 18, 2022

My name is Derick and I am a person in long term recovery, what that means to me is that I'm in control of my life. I choose ME over substances. I found a path of true happiness, meaning, and purpose in life. Finding out that nothing is impossible. I no longer hold myself back over fear. I can hold my head up high today coming from where I was to where I'm at today.

My substance use started with alcohol as a way to connect. I started drinking daily with the person who introduced me to alcohol and found that drinking in the morning was the best way to cure a hangover.

This same person shortly after offered me a meth pipe. I said no at first, but eventually gave in. That almost instantly became my world. Within 6 months I was going broke and selling all my belongings to pay for my habit. Within a year, I lost my place to live. I was living on the streets with restraining orders against me and my family. I got caught breaking and entering and also charged with theft and put into jail. Coming off of substances and realizing what I had done with my life in jail, gave me an overwhelming feeling of defeat.

When I went in front of the judge, I was given the option of drug court or a much longer sentence in prison. I was excited to be released to the drug court program until I realized that I was in the same situation, living on the streets with nowhere to go, nothing to do, and nothing to my name, except this time I had to be sober.

It took me a while to get my footing, but I felt a sense of pride when I got my own tent, it was somewhere to call home. I remember the feeling of accomplishment I felt when I got a 30 day chip. I made a goal of getting a job and working there until I got my first full paycheck. Once I reached that goal and had money that I had earned, it motivated me to do it again. I made a new goal of putting away $10 every payday into a savings account. I continued making and reaching goals that got me into a stable living situation and successfully graduated drug court in 2020.

I am sober today. The best thing I ever did was to reach out for help, it allowed me to find and live a fulfilling life of recovery. I run a weekly recovery group at USARA. This organization has helped me tremendously along the way. I'm super grateful that I made it out alive because I had a really close friend who didn't. I hear repeatedly about countless others in our small community alone who have lost their lives to this battle. It makes me realize what I have to live for. Because I'm in recovery, I am able to be a good dad, have healthy relationships, and be a voice for those who no longer have one. I feel like I was given another chance at life. That motivates me to make the best of it. I participate in many activities to bring awareness to our community such as Overdose Awareness Day, Recovery Day, and other sober social events. My hope is that we can stop shaming and save lives by educating, ending stigma, and supporting each other.

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