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Larry's Story (3 minutes, 38 seconds)

I'd like to share a little bit of my story with you. I began using drugs and alcohol at a very early age. I was really in situations where I felt the need to fit in. This progressed over the years, also into criminal activity. I was in and out of detention homes, youth centers, ended up in prison. I went to prison three different times. In 1982 I was sentenced to life without parole. My addiction just carried on through the years. I was in denial about what was going on, I felt that I had control over my life. During my incarceration, I was introduced to a therapeutic community. And that gave me an opportunity to learn about my disease, to be confronted about my behavior, to look at my criminal thinking. I stayed involved with that program for sixteen years. Because of a change in the law, I was allowed to file back into the court system, and have my sentence modified to a life sentence. In 2006 I was paroled to the Fellowship House here in Gadsden, Alabama. It's been a journey, I'm really grateful for the opportunity and to the people that put together these substance abuse programs. I paroled here, it was like reeducating my life. I'd been away from society for so long, but because of the treatment I was ready to become a productive citizen. I went through the program here; it was a ninety day program. And I was given the opportunity to work here once I completed the program. After this process was over I was allowed to become certified- I am a certified addictions counselor today because I was directed towards treatment. It has been a journey, a wonderful journey. Today, it's a sad thing, but I've been given the opportunity to take care my mother who is dying of Alzheimer's. She's in the late stages of Alzheimer's, and she's at home with me. -Because I was given the opportunity to get sober, and to learn about my disease, and be involved with the twelve steps- It's a blessing, you know, because of who I used to be, this would not have been possible. But today I am grateful for this opportunity, because treatment will work, and does work given the opportunity and given the right circumstances. And my message to anyone out there, who has a problem- it doesn't get any worse than what you make it. If you take the opportunity, if you listen to people that have been through this process, your life will get better. It's a guarantee. But if you keep doing what you've been doing, you're going to keep getting what you have been getting- no doubt about it.

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