Recovering addict turns dark past into bright future

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RAINELLE, WV (WVNS) — Can you spot the face of an addict? Sometimes we don’t see the signs until it is too late and the drugs take over.

People become addicted to drugs for many different reasons. For Jeff Blackburn, it happened very young while he was living in a broken home. He told 59News his father was very abusive. He said while he was searching for a father figure in his life, he was molested at just 12-years-old. He turned to marijuana, and before he knew it his drug addiction was out of control.

“By the time I was 14 I was drinking, doing acid. By the time I was 16 I had a very expensive cocaine habit,” Blackburn said.

Blackburn said somehow, he was able to graduate high school and did well for himself. He was living in Rainelle and his addiction was dormant

Until 2016, when the floods hit. He lost everything and battled depression. The life altering event took a toll and the drugs slowly crept back into his life.

“I went to the only thing I knew how to cope with and that’s drugs. I couldn’t do life on life’s terms,” Blackburn said.

Things got so bad, Blackburn ended up in jail. He said he was sitting in what they call the “gladiator pod” and decided it was time to make a change.

Unfortunately, that positive mindset did not last long. He didn’t make it two weeks when he failed a drug test for home confinement. Blackburn said he didn’t want to waste his life in jail, so this time he had a goal to get clean and he stuck with it.

“It took me losing everything and hurting a lot of people before I changed my life,” Black said.

Blackburn opened up to mom about how bad his problem was. She helped get him into Recovery Point, an addiction recovery center.

“I really realized how much I had taken from life and how little I had given. I decided to make a change, devote my life to God and help other people,” Blackburn said.

He is helping people, 30 months clean, the best way he knows how. Blackburn is a certified peer recovery support specialist at Recovery Ridge in Nicholas County. He helps people who are in the same exact shoes he once was. He coaches his men through recovery, getting them ready to get back in their communities. He tells people in recovery, many people in the community may not think very highly of them because of their past. However, that should not stop them from working hard to get their lives back on track.

“Just because you are doing the right thing doesn’t mean people are going to change their opinion of you. As 30 months sober, people still hold me to the person I was 31 months ago… It’s only through our work and our actions that we are able to prove anything different.” Blackburn said.

Showing the world it is possible to beat addiction.

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