Addiction is something that can affect individuals, families, and entire communities. If you don't know the struggles of an addict, consider yourself lucky. Cedar Rapids opened a new Recovery Community Center yesterday (9-21-2022) whose goal is to help individuals and families on the road to recovery.

*I did ask Todd's permission to share his story and he was more than willing to be a part of this article. We've had many conversations about his path to recovery so I called him to talk, so I could use his own words.*

Todd's Story

I've had a friend named Todd since we were both 12 years old. We met in a summer weightlifting program and quickly became friends. We were both pretty small 12-year-olds and we stuck together through the program. We couldn't lift as much as the bigger kids, so it was nice for both of us to have someone to do each lift with who was about our size.

Todd and I went to high school together and did typical high school stuff. We weren't really trouble makers but we weren't angels either. We'd goof off in class and were always known for being pretty talkative kids. We had a good group of friends, played sports, and got through high school as pretty happy teenagers.

When sports and school ended everyone went their separate ways. Sure some kids went to the same college or lived at home but things were never the same. When Todd went to a college where he didn't know very many people, he started to use parties as a way to fill the void he felt he lost when his friends weren't around.

Sadly, in Todd's case, partying and trying different substances became all too normal of a thing. He's always had an addictive personality but he always told himself he could stop at any point. When Todd was 19 he realized there was a bigger problem at hand. He tried to stop using certain drugs and couldn't. He had his drug/s of choice but really he'd use anything he could to take his mind away from being himself.

Back when Todd was using hard drugs daily, he said he ruined and destroyed every relationship he had. His friends and family didn't want to talk to him, be around him, or have pretty much anything to do with him. Which kept leading to another endless cycle of using drugs. A lot of times when talking to addicts, before deciding to get sober, they'll mention a "rock bottom moment."

Todd's rock bottom was going to jail for the second time. During his multiple stints in jail, he missed things he'll never be able to get back. During his first time in jail, he missed his sister's wedding and on his second stint, he missed his son's 2nd birthday. To this day Todd brings up guilt about those precious moments he missed and how he'll never be able to take back not being there.

The thing that makes me most proud of Todd is he has turned his life around for the better. He celebrated his 5th year of sobriety this past July. He said recovery centers, like the Recovery Community Center, gave him the tools he needed to stop using. They aren't the end-all-be-all, but if you're willing to put in the work, they can do amazing things for people dealing with substance abuse and can really help set addicts up for success.

I asked him how his day-to-day life was. Does he have a one-day-at-a-time kind of attitude or is he past that? Does he have good days and bad days? Both were true. He had an interesting answer when we talked about it and said,

On good days, I stay sober for myself. On bad days, I stay sober for everyone who stuck with me through all of the terrible moments I put them through.

Todd was kicked out of 30 treatment and recovery centers. He wanted to remind anyone going through substance abuse to NEVER GIVE UP. He tried and failed over 30 times to get sober until 5 years ago when it finally clicked. He also wanted to add,

Anyone who may be recovering, just remember, relapsing doesn't need to be the end of  recovery. Mistakes happen and it's more important you learn from them and figure out why you decided to use again so you can be prepared the next time you're having a rough moment.

Having seen firsthand what addiction does and can do to someone I wanted to share a personal story about my friend Todd. We've been friends for almost 20 years and when I first heard about the Linn County Recovery Community Center, I immediately wanted to reach out to Todd and talk with him about his struggles with substance abuse.

While every addict has their own story, the sad truth is addiction stories are common. According to Recovery Answers, in a 2019 article, 1 in 10 Americans reported having resolved significant substance problems.

According to KCRG, the facility is going to focus on peer connections and will be a place for people to work towards recovery, with others, who are also working towards recovery.

The Director of Crush is Rod Courtney and he is one of the people working with the recovery center, sadly his son passed away in 2016 at 38 years old. Rod told KCRG his son dealt with his own substance abuse disorders and helping others is what his son would've wanted.

Chad struggled with substance abuse disorder since his teenage years. One of the last conversations I had with Chad before he passed, he told me he just wanted to make a difference.

If you or someone you know wants to get sober, the Linn County Recovery Community Center uses Art Expression & Connection to help you achieve those goals. The Linn County Recovery Community Center is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m to 5 p.m. They are located at 317 7th Ave SE #304 in Cedar Rapids and their phone number is 319-594-3431. You can find more information on their website Crush Of Iowa.

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