CHRIS | Peyton, CO

“Fear is not real. Don’t hinder yourself because you’re scared of being sober.”

I was born with metabolized cocaine in my system and was immediately taken away from my mother. Being adopted really did something to my heart and my mind. When I was young, I never felt like I could be loved, and I never felt like my adopted family was my real family. I had a challenging relationship with my mother, especially when I would get in trouble. This was hard because of her eternal willingness to love me unconditionally. I felt like I couldn’t allow myself to love anyone but my biological mother. The stigma of being adopted made growing up very difficult for me, and I started partying at a very young age. As I grew older, I started using harder drugs. Throughout my twenties, I followed a similar pattern. Things in my life would get better, but then I would experience a personal loss—the death of a girlfriend, a friend, and my father—which would send me spiraling. This led to incarceration, and I spent a lot of my younger years in and out of jail. Imprisonment kept me from family and important life events and helped me see the importance of forming meaningful memories with those I love.

I was exhausted from a lifestyle where I spent time in prison, couldn’t see family, and felt judged. I’d had a tough relationship with my mom, however, she’s a big reason I sought treatment. She knew someone who worked in addiction treatment, so I got in touch with her. I was able to see my potential as a human being and my potential to be better. I knew I needed to break away from the people who brought me down. Learning from others and my own experiences, I recognized my story might have some value for others who are struggling, and wanted to pass on my lessons learned. Today, I’m training to be a Recovery Coach, and I’m helping other young Black men who have struggled with the judicial system and drugs get their lives back.