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
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).