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One Utahn’s journey from addict to CEO of a Utah recovery center

Jan 11, 2021, 12:00 PM
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SALT LAKE CITY — Many who struggle with substance abuse often find it almost impossible to live a life of sobriety. One Utahn is opening up about his journey from being an addict to becoming the CEO of a prestigious Utah recovery center.

Tyson Dixon, CEO of the Renaissance Ranch recovery center in Utah, joined the Project Recovery podcast to recall his journey of overcoming addiction.

The beginning of a tumultuous road 

Tyson’s journey into addiction started off fairly early. He recalls feeling the pressures of popularity beginning to take hold while he was in middle school and high school.

“I wanted to be the man and I wanted to experiment with everything, use everything, that was my goal. I wanted to use every substance,” he said.

He believed that if he could be the person who never said no to drugs and alcohol, people would like him more. Growing up, Tyson always looked older than most of his friends. So when he was sixteen, he bought a fake id and used it to buy alcohol for himself and his friends.

But Tyson quickly began to become reliant on alcohol and marijuana to just get him through the day. What he didn’t realize at the time, was his body was slowly beginning to become dependent on those substances. Before he knew it, Tyson had slowly become addicted to the substances that he was initially using “for fun”.

A shift in substance abuse

Tyson’s continued substance use throughout his high school years began to take a toll on him.

Immediately after he graduated high school, his substance abuse escalated to a dangerous level. He began to meet up with “sketchy people in sketchy places” to fuel his addiction. But now, his addiction had led him to more dangerous drugs than alcohol and marijuana.

His attitude towards serious drugs began to escalate and within months of graduation, he was smoking heroin.

“I went from drinking probably every other day, smoking weed every day to immediately doing heroin every day,” Tyson said.

Before he could realize the damage he was doing to himself, addiction had begun to completely take over for Tyson.

“First you’re using because it’s fun. Then you’re using because you don’t like to feel normal. Then you’re using because you have to because you don’t want to get sick,” he described. “There’s a progressive element with [addiction] that people need to understand, especially young people.”

Tyson’s introduction to the Renaissance Ranch recovery center

Tyson’s journey into addiction was swift and life-threatening. 

“When the brain is in a state of stress, you need substances to survive,” Tyson said. 

He began to use more and more, which in turn created even more addictive behaviors within himself. Until it had become too much for him to handle. 

After years of relapse and struggling with addiction, Tyson found out about Renaissance Ranch, a recovery center in Utah.

Being admitted to the recovery center was the best thing that ever happened to Tyson. 

“I didn’t know how bad I needed a sober community,” he said.

Tyson began to thrive in recovery. He began to understand his behaviors and ticks that ultimately began to push him into addiction. Using that information, he was able to start his road to recovery.

From addict to CEO of Renaissance Ranch

After succeeding in Renaissance Ranch’s recovery program, Tyson knew he had to make a change in his life. He also had found a new passion for making change for others who had struggled as he did for so many years.

“I had an overwhelming feeling that I could use my personality traits and characteristics and passion for recovery to ensure that other people can experience that,” he described.

So he started putting in the work to help others and after a change in ownership to the recovery center, Tyson was appointed the CEO of Renaissance Ranch.

Now he’s focused on making a real change in the way recovery is implemented in Utah.

“We just want to help the community,” he described. “It’s beyond an honor to be engaged in this work. It doesn’t really feel or seem like a job to me at all.”

Tyson still shares the same joy of seeing others experience the moment of sobriety as he did years ago.

“It never gets old to see someone start to experience that hope that I did,” he said.

For more information on Renaissance Ranch, visit their website here

To learn more about Tyson’s journey or the Renaissance Ranch recovery center, listen to the Project Recovery podcast

For more information on opioid prevention or if you or someone you know is struggling, you can find more information on Facebook, KSL TV, or Know Your Script. To hear more from Casey Scott and Dr. Matt Woolley, you can listen below or subscribe to the ‘Project Recovery’ podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get major podcasts.

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One Utahn’s journey from addict to CEO of a Utah recovery center