LEON | Colorado Springs, CO

“Having support is important, and you might not realize you have it.”

I had my first drink at seven years old, and I liked it. I started drinking heavily in high school. My younger years were all about having a good time. Through my twenties and thirties, I racked up DUIs and started spending time in jail and prison. I found recovery at times, I had two years at one point, but I would continue to return to drugs and alcohol.

Eventually, I called my sister and told her I was sick and needed help. A counselor asked me how often I’d been in trouble with the law and how often those times had coincided with drinking. I was able to see the connection between my actions and my problems with the justice system. I also realized that I’d let people down in my life—especially my mom. And most importantly, I realized I’d let myself down, and that relapsing was intertwined with my emotions.

Treatment gave me community and purpose. I found friends and a support network. In addition, I realized I had a gift. That fun personality that had made me the life of parties has found a true purpose. Today, I’m a certified speaker and counselor. I help others get on the right track. That’s not to say things are perfect. I have moments where I’m tempted, where I struggle. But I have the tools I need to get through it. And I know people are counting on me: my children, my wife, and all the people I regularly guide and mentor.