Meet Dylan who shares his recovery story in his own words:
"Hi, my name is Dylan. When I was 21, I had a solid job at a design firm, my own apartment and I was looking forward to creating a good life for myself. Then I started to experience numbness and tingling in my limbs. Eventually I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and my doctor prescribed me oxycodone for my chronic pain. The pills relieved my pain, but they also took away my depression and made me feel like I could do anything.
Soon I was going to multiple doctors to get more and more pills. Some of my friends told me they were concerned, but I didn’t see myself as an addict. Addicts were those guys on the street corner holding the cardboard sign that says 'Hungry and Homeless.' The guy with needle marks on his arm.
It didn’t take long for me to lose my job. No matter how good you are at what you do, when you get caught up with drugs, it starts to affect everything. I started selling my pills to get by. From there it was a fast downward spiral to using heroin, which is cheaper than pills and easier to get. It only took six months for me to lose my apartment and everything I had. I started sleeping under a bridge. I became one of those guys on the street corner.
I lived on the streets, struggling, for several years. But then I found my way to the Community Kitchen at Eva’s Village to get a free meal. I was welcomed with open arms, not judged. I was given hot food every day, and I met counselors who told me they would connect me with the services I needed to start to turn things around.
I moved into Eva’s Men’s Shelter, then enrolled in Eva’s treatment program and got clean. I started to volunteer at Eva’s Recovery Community Center where I met great people – other people like me, who were also committed to staying in recovery. I worked hard to become a certified Recovery Specialist and recently, I spoke to a reporter on camera about the need for addiction treatment programs in our state and across the nation.