LARS | Florissant, CO
We need to end the stigma around addiction; it’s not your fault you’re wired this way.
My first experience with substances came at an early age when I drank alcohol for the first time in seventh grade. In my early twenties, I had multiple knee surgeries, which came with an opioid prescription. Daily use led to addiction, and things began to spiral. Over the years, I had periods of sobriety. These periods never lasted because I didn’t feel like I was really doing the work. It wasn’t until I was pulled over for an aggravated DUI and possession that I started to turn things around.
From this situation, I found two things that provided pathways to recovery. First, I received court-ordered rehab. More importantly, I finally came out as transgender. Doing so lifted a burden off my shoulders and allowed me to feel like myself publicly. From there, I was able to put in that work that’s so essential to recovery. Having a supportive partner was hugely helpful. My wife understands that I can’t be with someone who is going to use substances at all. My support system, competitive nature, dedication to working on my sobriety and being myself have given me a new life. Today, I own a natural pet market and dog wash, I spend time volunteering to do outreach, and I focus on my sobriety.