as told to Kaitlyn Scoville

“In 2008, I went through a normal procedure of getting my wisdom teeth pulled and I was hooked on the pain medications that I took. When I did take those medications, I knew that it was something that I could use in my life to cover up a lot of the stuff that I didn’t want to deal with. I got the drugs by stealing from anyone I knew that had them, by buying them and by checking medicine cabinets of houses I would be in. I began to use them more and more; it was progressive. So it was daily use of prescription drugs for about eight years until I admitted that I needed help. It was October 2011, when I was 15, I went through a traumatic event in my life: my father passed away. I remember that feeling that I got from when I used drugs and I started using them to cover up those feelings of not wanting to go through that trauma and to really experience and really share with somebody what I was going through. So it took about six to eight months to realize I was dependent on something. I damaged a lot of relationships with people parents, loved ones and family members. I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want to be a part of something where every day I wake up, and I’m hurting people. I was introduced to recovery by a family friend in 2014; a lot of things have changed since then. I went to a 30-day inpatient treatment. I do believe that there’s a different path for everybody with their recovery. I utilize a lot of things in my life today that help in my path.”

Wes has been in recovery since June 20, 2014 and is the Operations Coordinator of Project WisHope which provides resources, education and support to Wisconsin communities and individuals impacted by addiction and mental health disorders. For more information about WisHope, which is located in Waukesha, Wis., please visit www. Wishope.org. For more FIXED stories, please visit www.uwosh.edu/fixed.