Opinion

Recovering addict chooses a healthier life | View from the Street

By IAN WOODSON
Herald columnist

Editor’s note: Ian Woodson is formerly homeless. He writes this column once every three weeks to build awareness about homelessness in North Kitsap, its causes, and possible solutions.

This story is about a friend who started drinking and smoking weed when he was 13.

He was sent to a group home for troubled youth when he was 15. He began to sell drugs when he got back from the group home and got caught when he was 17. His parents sent him back to the group home for eight months. The group home had a boot camp feel to it, and residents did farm labor such as growing and harvesting alfalfa.

He got into college while he was living at the group home. There was still strict supervision, but he managed to get a job at a deli near the college. This was his way out of the work camp. He saved some money from his job, then ran away from the group home and caught a Greyhound bus back to Seattle. He lived with a high school friend in Indianola. He went back to selling weed again.

After six months, he left his friend’s home and began to sell cocaine to support himself. He moved in with his grandparents during this period. His addiction progressed, because he had free range to do what he wanted. He reached the point where he was doing any and every drug he could get hands on and make a profit on. Money was the priority and drugs eventually took over.

Many attempts to quit were foiled by his return to his drug of choice, cocaine. He left his grandparents’ home to pursue greater use.

He started to couch surf, looked for places to stay, living mostly in his car. Shortly after turning 19, he realized that he needed help to avoid jail and death. His uncle and grandma came back into his life, getting him into an inpatient recovery facility in Burien.

He’s now involved in the 12-step community and learning a new way of life. His grandparents have welcomed him back home and he has also found regular work doing landscaping with his father.

Upcoming Events

Kingston Cares will meet on May 8, 9:30 a.m. in the Kingston Financial Center, 10950 Highway 104, Kingston. Topic: Making sure the Kingston community has a severe-weather shelter up and running for this winter, and the organizing of committees to address specific needs in the community. Come with your ideas and concerns.

The North Kitsap Substance Abuse Pre-vention Coalition meets on May 12, 1 p.m., in the Spectrum building, 25800 Siyaya Ave. NE, Kingston. The goal of the coalition is to change the perception among children and teens that drug use is a part of growing up. The coalition invites new members and donations.

 

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