How Matt Peterson, an addict since childhood, got sober and learned to help others – WCPO Cincinnati

Matt Peterson became an opioid addict at 11, when he was hit by a van and prescribed Vicodin for the pain. He was too young, then, to realize what was happening to him or to predict that the struggle to get clean would dominate the next decade of his life.

I enjoyed the way they made me feel, even that young, he said Monday. I just didnt know anything about what they were, really.

Hed taken D.A.R.E. classes, but that didnt matter. By the time he was a young adult, he said, hed lost all ability to resist his addiction or even to feel ashamed of it. He expected to be dead before his 26th birthday.

I no longer cared at all about my image, being labeled as a junkie or being dirty or anything like that, he said. It was over.

Except it wasnt. The 2004 passage of Caseys Law, a bill allowing family and friends to request involuntary court-ordered treatment for a person with an addiction, saved his life by letting the people who loved him take over.

In Petersons case, the intervention came from his parents. They successfully petitioned a judge to put him in rehab, which didnt break his addiction but began to reverse his course. Their help shepherded him toward the decision hed make in jail three years later: He wanted to be sober. He wanted to be alive.

Hed never contemplated his future before, he said. Hed never assumed hed have one.

I really started to focus on whereIwas going to take my life, he said.

He decided he owed it to the world to help others. Peterson became an addiction counselor at BrightView Health in Fairfield, and he spent three years writing the story of his battle in a book called BACK ON TRACKmarks: From Hopeless to Dopeless.

Hes grateful for the opportunity to live a new kind of life, he said. Hes especially glad he can pass on what he knows to people still living in the dark place he inhabited for years.

Just being able to watch some of these guys come in here completely broken and then a couple years later telling me that theyre he stopped himself, holding back tears. Its amazing.


How Matt Peterson, an addict since childhood, got sober and learned to help others - WCPO Cincinnati

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