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Stories from the Streets: Getting sober and getting a job

Jan 30, 2020, 5:37 AM | Updated: 10:29 am
Getting sober...
Casey has turned his life around after his addiction to methamphetamine contributed to his homelessness. He believes law enforcement could learn more about addiction to better help those on the streets. (Photo courtesy of Casey.)
(Photo courtesy of Casey.)

Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of reports called “Stories from the Streets.” Tune to KSL NewsRadio at 102.7 FM and 1160 AM, or stream at kslnewsradio.com, for more reporting on the topic. Part one can be found here.  

PROVO, Utah – Casey is from Payson, Utah and has made it through a hard journey to getting sober.

He began doing drugs after graduating from high school.

“I started to party. Drugs weren’t necessarily a requirement, but if you wanted to have fun you would do drugs,” Casey remembers.

But eventually, the people he was hanging out with moved away, but the drugs didn’t.

“People go their separate ways. Unfortunately, drugs stuck permanently to me,” Casey says.

Introduction to meth

He then turned to meth.

“Methamphetamine was self-medicating for me due to ADD [Attention Deficit Disorder]. The treatment that is provided for ADD is the same chemical makeup as methamphetamine,” Casey says.

It was a much harder substance to kick than what he had been using.

“It’s really draining on the body. You’re used to having all the energy in the world when you’re on the drug. And if it’s taken away from you then you feel like you have no mental capacity and barely any physical capacity. So, the only way to ‘heal’ yourself is to do the drugs again,” Casey explains.

A stint in rehab

Casey got clean five years ago by going through court-ordered rehab, but then he relapsed.

He was living outside a Walmart and eating cold, prepared food because he did not have a way to cook anything else.

Eventually, the police picked him up.

But going through rehab this time was better.

“I got to go into the rehab facility with familiar faces, so it made it a whole heck of a lot easier,” Casey says.

Getting sober and getting a job

Casey has been clean for several months, has a job, and is living in transitional housing in the Provo area.

He says he is making better choices, and he knows he needs to be around other people. Sometimes, however, it can feel like the “homeless” label follows him around.

Casey understands that law enforcement needs to do their jobs, but he would like more officers to better understand addiction.

“The jail system is not a correctional facility. It’s a good start…to the rehabilitation process,” Casey says.

Related articles:

How a homeless Utah woman became SL County office receptionist

Volunteers needed for Utah Homeless Point In Time Count

From Adderall to “huffing” canned air; a Utah man’s journey with addiction

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Stories from the Streets: Getting sober and getting a job