When you talk with Scott, you hear a guy that knows his mind and can explain where he’s coming from. With every question, his response breaks down his experience and tells his story. He makes it easy to relate to each of his challenges and the hard work it took to overcome them. Scott started using heroin when he was 15. He didn’t achieve sobriety until age 38.
Burning Out, year by Year
Heroin addiction was hard on Scott. His body, mind, and family were all on the line when he was using. “Life was horrible, I’d been to treatment nine times, I’ve overdosed several times, I’ve had multiple abscesses. Life was horrible, once I started using drugs at least” said Scott. He financed his habit by lying to and stealing from his mother. “I was a worthless person. I didn’t work, if I did, I would cheat, steal. Just basically my life or world would revolve around heroin or opiates” said Scott.
Scott’s mother kept encouraging him to go to treatment. As Scott puts it, “I tried multiple treatment centers, nothing seemed to work…It just seemed like every time I’d go through treatment, I would do great, and then I’d get out and I would last maybe a month tops.”
Making a Change
It wasn’t until Scott decided he was fed up with the life he was living that treatment started working for him. He’d just overdosed again and spent time in Harborview Medical Center. Scott spent 3 months at home while his body healed. Scott made up his mind, he was sick of lying, cheating and endangering his health. He committed to treatment and leaving addiction behind.
It was the first time I wanted to do it for myself, so I went into it a whole different way. Before I’d always go into treatment like ‘Okay I got 30 days until I get out, time to party!’ This time I looked at it like, it was a big worry when I got out, about what I would do, how it would work out…Definitely a whole different way of looking at life when I realized I was tired of getting high all the time.
Life Today, Plans for Tomorrow
Life for Scott is better now because of his recovery. Sober for two years and recently married with two children, Scott’s been working a steady job for the City of Seattle for the last seven years. His wife, who is also in recovery, is clean now and their relationship is healthier than it’s ever been. Together they are looking for a home, planning for retirement, and looking forward to more time together. “I love getting up every day, my kids got everything they need, I got everything I need, and my Mom doesn’t have to worry about me asking for money” Scott said.
Scott works for the City of Seattle, a job he got through the Conservation Corps, a work-training program operated by the Cities’ Parks and Recreation department. The program provides employment to those experiencing homelessness, or who are undergoing addiction treatment. The Cities’ Parks and Recreation department explains the program “provides job skills and carries out projects that benefit our citizens and our environment.” While in the Conservation Corps, Scott worked hard, commuting 6-8 hours a day just getting to and from the job site. His dedication and effort paid off. After he finished the program, he was offered a position with the City, where he’s worked since.
Grateful Thoughts and Humble Advice
Reflecting on his recovery, Scott feels methadone played a big part. He feels that the combination of methadone and counseling made it possible for him to take his mind off his addiction and focus on making his life better. “Treatment is here for you, you just need to know you’re ready to commit, then get to it.”