SCOTT | Steamboat Springs, CO

“A lot of it boiled down to none of us understanding what addiction was.”

My mother suffered from chronic pain, and in my mid-teens I started experimenting with her leftover medications. For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with social anxiety and depression, never been comfortable in my own skin. Opioids gave me that feeling of being safe. It didn’t take long to cross that barrier from using socially on the weekends to needing it to get out of bed in the morning. This eventually led to in-depth heroin use, and very nearly robbed me of my life. My parents noticed my drug use, but took limited action. A lot of it boiled down to none of us understanding what addiction was, and that it was not something I would “grow out of.” This belief continued until I was 25 and hopelessly addicted to heroin.

In the years that followed treatment, my family and I have learned a lot about the reality of my addiction. My sister initially thought this was something I could learn to control, and that we’d still be able to have beers on the weekend after I completed treatment. In time, we all came to understand that this isn’t something that can be controlled easily. For others watching someone go through something similar, if you’re educated on the subject and you find a way to approach them with resources, realistic boundaries and love, they’re far more likely to accept your help and do something about it. Recovery is absolutely possible. It isn’t always pretty or easy, but it is amazing how beautiful my life is today.