The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported over 72,000 people died in 2017 because of drug overdoses. Those are national numbers, but they hit close to home. With International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31, two recovered drug addicts wanted to share their story and inspire others to start their road to recovery.
Cody Truesdell has struggled with addiction for most of his life. “Since I was 13 I’ve struggled with drugs and alcohol… last thing that finally finalized my addiction was meth, but it’s been everything, alcohol, cocaine, opiates, pretty much all of them,” said Truesdell, the RU Recovery Assistant Director.
Erik Borrell understands what Truesdell has experienced. “I struggled with addiction to methamphetamine for 20 years, almost to the day, from the first time I tried it to the last time,” said Borrell, a recovered addict.
Truesdell said there was a moment when religion intervened in his life. “Six years ago I finally wound up in jail, and I met with God in a jail cell and my life has changed ever since,” said Truesdell. “I was in and out of jail 13 times in a three year period… I didn’t like myself, I didn’t like my life, I really just wanted to end it, and it took everything from me, it took my family, my job, my home, I wound up with nothing homeless on the street,” Truesdell remembered.
Borrell said addiction can lead to serious consequences. “You lose hope in addiction and it will drive a person to want to end their life,” said Borrell.
Both men believe drug addicts need a reason to have hope. “You need a connection, that’s what addicts are missing, they’re missing the connection with something or somebody that makes them feel like there’s hope,” said Truesdell.
Without that connection, life can become meaningless. “It’s not just overdoses that ends lives in addition. It’s overdoses, suicides, homicides, I’ve had friends shot, I’ve had friends kill somebody and they’ve lost their life now too,” said Borrell.
They said their stories should show other addicts that life without drugs is possible. “I’m living hope. I was addicted and I was miserable and I wanted to end my life, and look at me now, I’m a different person. I’ve changed my life and it’s all because of the grace of God,” said Truesdell.
Borrell said he is always willing to help people find their road to recovery. “Recovery’s a reality, and it’s an amazing blessing… there is a way out, and we’re here to help,” said Borrell.
In the evening of August 31, there will be an event in honor of International Overdose Awareness Day at the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens. It starts at 6:30 p.m. and recovery will be one of the main topics. There will be guest speakers, a slideshow honoring those who have passed away, a candlelight vigil, and resources that can guide people toward recovery.
This is a free event and everyone is invited, regardless of your relationship with addiction. Truesdell said he hopes people come to the event, to better understand drug addiction in our community.
If you or someone you love needs help, there is a local chapter of RU Recovery Ministries in town. There is also the Recovery Community of Western Colorado, which is dedicated to helping with addiction.