By Wasatch Crest Admissions Coordinator Trevor Butterfield
Wasatch Crest admissions representative, Trevor Butterfield, shared his story of addiction recovery with us. You can read his narrative below.
I was born in Orem, Utah in 1991. My parents were high school sweethearts, they got married and I was their firstborn child. When I was two years old my dad took a job in Seattle. Shortly after we moved there my twin sisters were born. We were raised in what people would say is the “all-American family.” It was a loving home, based on faith, hard work, and time spent together as a family.
Growing up I had a fear of being accepted. Family and friends would frequently comment about how easy it was for me to make friends and how people looked up to me no matter where I went. But for me, it didn’t feel like that. I grew up with an irrational voice in the back of my head that told me I wasn’t good enough. I was a three-sport athlete most of my childhood through my teenage years, playing football, basketball, and baseball.
I moved to a new town the summer before my seventh-grade year. Once again, I had that voice in the back of my head saying I wouldn’t be good enough. This type of thinking kept me in the victim role for a long time. I made friends quickly and surrounded myself with other athletes. I never struggled in school before the move. As a matter of fact, I excelled. But after we moved I had no desire to do homework and would do just enough academically so I could still play sports.
When we got closer to high school, my athlete peers split into two groups, one that partied and one that got straight A’s and didn’t drink or use. Growing up in a religious household in a state of mainly non-religious people probably played a part in the next decision I made. I chose to rebel and hang out with the athletes who partied.
I took my first drink at 15 years old. At the time, I hated everything about drinking and still do, but I wanted to feel a part of the scene. I smoked weed for the first time at age 16, once again I hated it, but all my friends did so I would occasionally do it too.
Once I was in high school, there was a party at someone’s house every weekend. I still didn’t like drinking or smoking weed, but I wanted a chance to let loose.
When I was 17 years old, one of my friends mentioned he had surgery and told me how amazing the pain medication felt. I had taken pain medication for injuries when I was younger, but I didn’t remember at the moment what it felt like. I thought to myself, no smell, no problem. My parents would never know. I took those pills that night and knew that the medication was going to be my vice at parties from then on. The drug made me feel invincible. I had no anxiety, no worries in the world, and best of all, I couldn’t hear that voice in the back of my head anymore that told me I wasn’t good enough.
I took pills every other weekend for most of my junior year. I still excelled at sports but academically I was starting to slip. High school to me was about sports, girls, and social interaction. I couldn’t care less what the teacher was teaching.
Towards the end of my junior year, I had surgery on my foot after a sports injury. I remember sitting there thinking, “This is terrible but at least I don’t have to find pills. I will have them on hand.” After that initial foot surgery, I had three more on my foot. I spent the whole summer before my senior year in a boot and on pain medication.
I decided that I didn’t want to play sports anymore when my senior year started, which came as a shock to everyone around me. I blamed my foot but in reality, it was because I once again felt like I wasn’t good enough. I had been in a boot for about seven months total over the past year, and I had convinced myself I had fallen behind athletically.
At the beginning of my senior year, my doctor abruptly stopped prescribing the pain medication that I had been on for months. I felt so sick but didn’t understand why. I mentioned my symptoms to a friend, and he informed me about withdrawals and gave me a solution. Unable to obtain less potent pain medication, he offered me a stronger painkiller than I’d ever taken, suggesting I split into fourths.
I took them because I didn’t want to be sick and loved the feeling the drugs gave me. It was the first time I’d tried OxyContin. I remember thinking, “This is better than any pill I’ve ever had and I wish I could feel this way 24/7, 365.”
My addiction progressed from swallowing the pills to snorting them and then smoking them. I convinced myself that my substance abuse was normal. I thought, “I will never do heroin. These are prescribed, not to me, but to someone, so they can’t be that bad.”
I wasn’t the only person struggling with an addiction to pain medication addiction. OxyContin hit my town like a tornado. Once well-respected, my school became known as “the pharmacy” because students could obtain seemingly any drug they could ever want. All types of people at my school were using including straight-A students, athletes, cheerleaders, and more.
My parents realized something was wrong and confronted me about my substance use. I lied, telling them that I wasn’t doing drugs or drinking and I was fine. Meanwhile, I was regularly ruining relationships and burning bridges that took me years to repair. I didn’t know then, but I know now that they had reached out to a youth addiction treatment facility in Utah.
THE BEGINNING OF MY ADDICTION RECOVERY JOURNEY
My long journey to recovery began when my parents caught me with drugs. I was grounded for something unrelated to my use, so I had a friend drop pills in my mailbox. I told my parents that I was going to check the mail and I would come right back. Not only did my parents watch me the entire time without me noticing, but it was Sunday. I was so far gone I couldn’t keep my stories straight.
My parents told me to give them the pills. They hugged me and said that they were going to get me help. They informed me about the youth addiction treatment facility, but I refused to go. I agreed to attend treatment in Washington instead, which I began the day after my 18th birthday in the middle of my senior year.
While in treatment, I decided that I needed to move away because I couldn’t face people at school and was worried that they wouldn’t accept me. I moved to Utah to stay with family the day after I completed my 30-day program. I figured Utah was a safe place, and I wouldn’t be surrounded by drugs. I was wrong.
I earned my GED certificate in Utah and stayed sober for a few months. Then, I got a job at a sales company that required me to travel. I ended up relapsing while living in Florida. I moved home and returned to treatment.
Once again, I moved to Utah after treatment because, “I wasn’t the problem. Washington and Florida were.” I didn’t even make it a month sober in Utah. My pill dealer moved away, and I found myself sick with nothing to “fix it.” That’s when I was introduced to heroin. The substance I swore to never touch. I not only graduated from prescription drugs, but I went from smoking them to shooting them, something else I swore I’d never do, within a couple of months.
For the next four years from ages 20-24, I was in and out of addiction treatment programs in Utah. I finally got sober for an extended period in 2014. I began working in treatment and life was great.
Although I was embracing recovery, in the back of my mind I had some “if this happens” scenarios that I suspected would lead me to relapse. One of those circumstances occurred, and I ended up relapsing after two years of sobriety.
In 2016, I attended another addiction treatment facility and stayed sober for about six months. Then another one of my “if this happens” situations happened, and I used. I lost everything faster than ever before. I lived in motels and out of my car with my girlfriend at the time.
MY LAST TIME IN ADDICTION TREATMENT
I reached out to treatment centers, but I had no insurance. I called the same treatment center for 29 days in a row begging the owner to let me in. On day 30, something happened that changed my life forever. We found out that my girlfriend was pregnant. At that moment I was scared, hopeless, and didn’t know what to do.
Shortly after we found out, I got a call from the owner of the treatment center saying that they would take me the next day. I knew at that moment that it was a sign from God, and I knew that if I put in the work everything would be okay.
My girlfriend moved to Idaho to get clean on the day I checked into treatment. Every other time I got sober it was for someone or something else. I either did it for my parents, girlfriend, or family. Or, simply because I ran out of money and had nowhere to go. This time I chose to get sober for me. I made a promise to myself that my unborn child would never see me in active addiction, and I would be a father she could rely on and trust. At that point I didn’t know if my girlfriend and I would stay together, I just knew this was my last chance to get things right.
This time, I committed to doing things differently. I wasn’t perfect, but I promised God, myself, my girlfriend, my family, and the owner of the treatment center who agreed to scholarship me, that this would be the last time I ever got sober. I went into the opportunity with an open book. Things I never talked about before, I chose to talk about in therapy. I had no, “if this happens” circumstances in the back of my mind. For the first time, I didn’t have a fear of people not liking me. I truly surrendered to the process and put in the work to succeed.
My girlfriend and I decided we needed to focus on ourselves and agreed that if we were meant to end up together, we would. I attended inpatient treatment for 45 days. Then, I attended day treatment along with a sober living program for two months.
My girlfriend was still in Idaho, and I was asking for advice on what to do about our relationship, from my therapist, friends, and family. Most of my support agreed that my girlfriend and I were not able to stay sober together, needed to stay apart, and share custody of our daughter.
One person, who I trust wholeheartedly, told me we can do it if we work hard and give it our all. That stuck with me. Something inside myself kept telling me we needed to give it one last shot, all in, for us and our daughter.
Against almost all recommendations, I decided I was going to move to Idaho and create a healthy, loving relationship with my girlfriend. It took a lot of hard work, open conversations, and patience as we rebuilt trust in each other.
That was almost five years ago. My girlfriend eventually became my wife. We had our beautiful healthy daughter. I went to barber school, and my wife chased her dreams as well. We now have two children, our daughter who is four years old, and our son who is now seven months old. We both work in the addiction treatment industry and life is amazing.
Early recovery for me was a mental battle. I was stressed as I adjusted to living in a new state. worked to redevelop a relationship with my wife, and prepared for fatherhood. I just kept telling myself that I couldn’t give up.
We both did everything we could in a short amount of time to create healthy lives that we could bring a newborn into. I had support from my family, encouragement from my friends, and inspiring examples from others in recovery.
ADVICE TO THOSE IN EARLY RECOVERY
Individuals in early recovery should know that there is nothing wrong with them. Any negative sentiments about yourself don’t define you.
When maintaining your recovery, leave no rock unturned, whether that means joining Alcoholics Anonymous and obtaining a sponsor, attending therapy, getting a life coach, or participating in recovery events. Don’t shun any means of healthy support as you heal. Additionally, use your chosen support resources to help address any, “if this happens” circumstances that may lead to relapse.
One of the sayings I live by is, “I am doing better than I am feeling”. Life is full of ups and downs, for people in recovery and people who have never struggled with addiction. But look at the bigger picture, it may be a rough moment or week, but all in all, you are doing amazing.
It sounds tedious, but look at yourself in the mirror and remind yourself that you are worthy of good things. You deserve a life full of joy and happiness. Sobriety will give you that, and then some.
LIFE IN LONG-TERM ADDICTION RECOVERY
My life in long-term sobriety is based on God and my family. I am a productive member of society, as well as a husband, father, son, brother, and friend that my loved ones can rely on. I show up for my family, friends, job, commitments, and most importantly myself. I strive to be someone that I am proud of.
I still have hard days, and still, catch myself falling into “black-and-white” thinking, but I’m able to identify those feelings and adjust accordingly.
I am no longer a victim, in any sense of the word. I choose to look at problems that arise with a more positive perspective. I used to wonder why a negative circumstance was happening to me. Now, I try to find the reason why an obstacle is occurring in my life.
I’m living a life I only dreamed of. I never thought I would make it this far, but I’m going to prove that if I can do it, so can you. So if you’re reading this, and you are struggling and have lost all hope, just know that I believe in you, and you can do this. No matter what, you are never too far gone to find your way home.
ADDICTION RECOVERY AT WASATCH CREST
To learn more about available addiction treatment resources, get connected with care that’s a fit, and find out about Wasatch Crest’s addiction treatment programs, you can reach out to our admissions representatives.
About the Author
Wasatch Crest Admissions Coordinator Trevor Butterfield
An early point of contact for individuals seeking help with substance abuse, Trevor guides clients through the admissions process and prepares them for treatment.
Having been both a client and staff member at substance abuse treatment centers, Trevor draws on his personal experience to provide those in active addiction with hope that changing their lives for the better is entirely possible. He feels fulfilled in his work when he’s able to witness clients transition from a state of desperation and despair to one of joyful rediscovery of their potential.
Trevor enjoys sports, camping, fishing, hiking, and motorcycles. Some of his favorite places to visit are Oregon and Washington. Trevor is married with two young children and a dog named Tank. Before returning to his home state of Utah, he lived in Idaho for five years. Trevor is a licensed barber and owned a barbershop in Idaho. He’s also been sober for several years.