Stories

 
 
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Tim

Like many that come through the doors of The Wheelhouse, Tim’s family has a history of addiction. His father graduated from The Wheelhouse 28 years ago. Even with that history, it would surprise most people to know that Tim himself is an addict. He made great grades in high school and was a member of the academic team. He went on to nursing school and had a successful career as a nurse. But what most people don’t know is that Tim started drinking when he was just 13 years old. He would skip school to get drunk on rum, all the while keeping up his good grades. He took drugs for the first time at his prom. In nursing school, he began taking LSD (acid) and cocaine in addition to alcohol in order to try and balance his addiction with school performance. But for the first time, it became unmanageable. Like most addicts, Tim attempted to get sober on many occasions. He would find success for a while, but he would always fall back into drug or alcohol abuse. His most recent addiction was to prescription drugs. It took an intervention from his family to get him to attempt sobriety. “When I first got to The Wheelhouse, I was mad. I was really doing this for my family. My brother in law has Stage 4 cancer and they asked me to get sober. But about 10 days in, my sister told me I had to do this for myself, not them. That’s when everything changed.” Tim has been able to maintain his successful career and with the help of The Wheelhouse is determined to make sobriety a lifestyle.

 
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Lynn

It would be easy for Lynn to give himself over to addiction. The pain in his life would be unbearable to most people. His father died from cancer when Lynn was just 9. He was dyslexic as a child and grew up hearing how stupid he was. He grew up around his alcoholic uncles. His wife, while in detox, drowned in a bath tub. And he has degenerative disk disease. His first drug was Valium, at the age of 14, and he continued to seek out drugs and alcohol to dull the emotional pain. He became a skilled crane operator, even as an addict. He was a functional addict. But in 1989, he suffered a severe back injury and become addicted to opioids. This injury led to a downhill spiral into unmanageable addiction and even homelessness. Over the years, Lynn, like most addicts, has been in and out of drug rehab programs. Lynn had health insurance for some of these programs, but eventually, he ran out of money and options. “The Wheelhouse has been a lifesaver. I needed to get sober and they offered me that opportunity. As long as I work the program, I get to stay. And I have to make it this time. I have to stay sober. I want to help others. It feels good. And I’ve learned, finally, that it’s OK to feel good.”

 
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Randy Howell

Randy came to The Wheelhouse in 1992. He was hopeless. He had thrown everything and everyone away. “I knew how to play the game. I had lived on the street for a long time. I had 1,000 excuses and justifications when I first got here. I wouldn’t take responsibility for anything. The guys here didn’t let me play that game. They told me the truth, even when it was hard. They helped me realize that I was not a victim, but a victimizer.” During his process of recovery, Randy lost a child. This could have driven him out of recovery, but the support he received from The Wheelhouse kept him sober, even through the intense emotional grief. Through the Circle of Recovery process at The Wheelhouse, Randy has been in recovery for 25 years and today, serves as our VP of Operations. He is a trusted and respected citizen in our community.