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Recovery Rally Statement

Hello, my name is Brian and I am a recovering alcoholic/addict. I was privileged to be

asked to join Skye Counseling this past September, which is the National Alcohol and Drug

Addiction Recovery Month, at the Historical 5th Street School in downtown Las Vegas Nevada.

This event was locally organized, however, it included guest speakers that are nationally

recognized as advocates for the under representative drug and alcohol communities across our

nation. Justin Luke Riley, CEO of Young People in Recovery, was one speaker that stood out

and had a very powerful message that inspired myself, as well as many others, to be active in our

communities and to spread the word that recovery is possible and that the “stigma” of an

alcoholic/addict needs to be broken.

When you think of an alcoholic/addict you, like most people, probably get the image of a

dirty, lazy, useless, and even unintelligent individual. Unfortunately, this is a stereotype that

must be removed from our communities and our nations collective perspective. Addicts come in

all shapes and sizes, there are many people who battle addiction that are ashamed and flying

under the radar. It is safe to say, you likely know an addict and are completely unaware of their

struggles. I was much like this myself early on in my addiction. I held a job at the same company

for over 10 years, bought a house, owned cars and tools that allowed me to support my habit, and worked in the homes of the average person including school teachers, mechanics, police officers, all the way up to affluent doctors in our community. My addiction started early on in life.

I was raised in a middle-class home with both parents working very good, career

oriented, jobs. My father was an airline mechanic and my mother worked for the railroad

industry and was also a very well-educated woman, holding a masters level degree. I started out

my addiction like most, on an experimental and curious level. Unfortunately, I started this early

on at about age 13, and went quickly from alcohol to marijuana on an occasional basis to regular

use after only about one year. I was using almost daily by age 16, I got my first DUI at age 22

and before I finished, racked up a total of 6 DUI’s, and over 20 arrests (all drug/alcohol related);

all this while appearing normal to the outside public. This all ended with my final DUI and some

much-needed counseling, that allowed me to look at myself with an unfiltered lens.

I had become an addict along the way. I struggled with cutting back, stopping, and even

switching my drug of choice (DOC) for almost 20 years. When I finally started to listen to some

very informed individuals, both counselors and other recovering addicts, I was actually able to

see who and what I had become with an unbiased perspective. This is the first step in being able

to change ANYTHING (discovery). These series of events changed my life, and others in my

situation markedly.

I went back to school at age 40, I took general education classes and psychology courses

(because the alcoholic/addict mind fascinates me) and I even started to speak with other addicts

regularly, both in and out of recovery. The most noticeable thing I discovered is how much more

alike we are than different, this includes all people (addicts or not). I am proud to say that I am

nearing the end of my senior year in Human Services at UNLV (focusing on addiction recovery),

I am applying to graduate school this Fall; in hopes being able to reach more people who are

afflicted with this daunting and debilitating disease. I write this to you as a recovering addict, an

Intern here at Skye Counseling, a successful student, and most importantly an active participant

in my children’s lives! “RECOVERY WORKS, I’M LIVING PROOF” (Recovery Rally, Las

Vegas Nv, 2018).

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