JERRID | Colorado Springs, CO

“Only when you are honest with yourself, can true change take its course.”

My family had a long history of drug and alcohol use. My mother worked so hard to provide for us, so she wasn’t around a lot. This situation made me feel like I wasn’t getting enough attention at home and made it easy to get away with a lot. By twelve, I was smoking weed and occasionally drinking with friends. I was good at a lot: school, sports, making connections. My success gave me attention, something I wasn’t getting at home. By high school, I was dealing drugs because they were accessible, and it took the financial burden off my mom. I had the chance to go to college, but I turned it down because my girlfriend was pregnant. I was trying really hard to be a father and create a family, but I fell apart when my girlfriend moved away. There were opportunities and periods of positivity, but closing doors and loneliness sent me down a path of self-destruction. Over the next few years, I struggled with reckless behaviors, unfortunate luck, and institutional injustice. I was in and out of prison and fluctuating between sobriety and addiction. I was still craving that validation from others that I felt I’d never received from family.

Drug use and this lifestyle pushed me to a point where I felt so low that I didn’t want to be alive. Finally, I knew I had to ask for treatment help. I knew I had to accept everything. So, I reached out for support. Not only did this help me find recovery, but it gave me the strength to do more. I’ve learned not to blame others for my situation and to take responsibility for my actions. Accepting that and taking control of my life has given me incredible gifts like raising my beautiful family and having the opportunity to pass what I’ve learned to others in need.