The profiles written here are based on Avery County residents who are battling or have battled addiction. They come from descriptions by Avery County law enforcement officers, mental health personnel, counselors and therapists, preachers and legal professionals.
Each profile has been significantly modified and combined with profiles of other addicts, but each helps shape the overall picture of a growing problem affecting all of our friends and neighbors. To recognize the problem is a necessary step in joining others in solving the problem.
Phil lives in Avery County. Maybe he lives next door; maybe you work with him. Phil’s name and identifying characteristics have been changed — but the honest truth is that he is a local resident addicted to opioids.
He is a 38-year-old never-married father of two.
He was exposed to substances at an early age—through parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents, as far back as anyone can remember. Parental neglect left Phil on his own from the age of 8. Eventually he connected to someone who taught him that selling drugs would allow him to earn more money, faster, survive better.
Phil stayed under the radar of law enforcement, but his family susceptibility to addiction and the drug culture with which he was associated eventually led to his own drug use.
He was convicted of drug charges, with a court order for outpatient treatment. He’s been in treatment for some five months, but continues to struggle. Are his problems his fault, or that of his family? Can he take back his own power, change his own life? The cycle of recovery and addiction has a stronghold, with days or weeks of sobriety, followed by some stress from work or a relationship that sends him back to drug usage.
He’s still in recovery, and knows that even when he slips up, he can pick himself up and continue working. He knows to seek support quickly, and knows that recovery is not just about not using, but being honest and true to himself. He’ll always remember.