Resources & Education

November 27th, 2014

Donald’s story of addiction and HOPE

Fresh Start This WayIn the spirit of Thanksgiving, we thought we would share a true story of a man who overcame many obstacles to turn his life around in the face of addiction. Please note that names have been changed and omitted for privacy.

He’s in his sixties, but one of Donald’s goals is to go back to school. “I know I still have something to offer,” he says, “and I believe God wants me to help others avoid the path I’ve taken.”

Donald started abusing alcohol in his late teens. He moved on to marijuana, sleeping pills, hard liquor and “pretty much anything that was available.” Over the years, his addictions took their toll. His health began to decline; he became diabetic, had high blood pressure and other ailments. He’s been in and out of various treatment programs over the years, and has spent time in jail for different offenses.

“I was in the methadone program for 10 years and managed to stay pretty clean during that time,” says Donald. “But the treatments made me sick, and I couldn’t see myself sticking with it for the rest of my life. I was very worried about the long-term effects. It scared me.”

He had heard good things about suboxone (an opioid medication approved for the treatment of opioid dependence in an office-based setting) and was curious about it. At the time, one of the conditions of his release from prison was that he attend a rehab program, and Donald jumped at the chance to join Horizon’s suboxone program.

“When he came to this program, he was – as they say – ‘tore up from the floor up,’” said his counselor. “Today, you wouldn’t recognize him as the same man. Donald has learned from his mistakes and is motivated and determined to stay clean.”

“I was so tired of being on the streets, of always searching for drugs, of not feeling well,” says Donald. “I was determined to find a way to eliminate drugs permanently from my life. And I had heard that, with suboxone, there’s no pain during withdrawal.”

In the program since last year, Donald has, indeed, made great strides. He’s been clean since entering the program, and has seen a significant improvement in his overall health which, in turn, has had a positive effect on his attitude as well.

“Donald knew what he had to do,” says his counselor. “He’s made some very significant changes in his life. He has made such a positive impact on so many people here – he regularly attends meetings, he listens, he gives good feedback and he’s always positive and upbeat for others who are struggling.”

“Recovery has helped me in so many ways,” says Donald. “I never knew so many people could care so much about me. Everyone here has made me feel comfortable and worthy. They truly are concerned about me and they keep on top of me to be sure I don’t slip up. It’s been really great and I am very encouraged!”

Remember the road to recovery is tough, but you don’t have to go it alone. There are many resources and people willing to help you and your family. From all of us at, we hope this Thanksgiving you take a moment to be thankful for life’s precious blessings and know that we are here to help. Call (716) 831-1800 or visit the resources section of our website today.

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