This is a guest post from Greg Cayea, of the National Youth Recovery Foundation.
I just had a friend who had gone to prison for robbery. She was strung-out on heroin, sick with addiction and she spent three years behind bars, but while there, she began going to AA meetings and got clean (apparently there are plenty of drugs in prison as well). She was released for good behavior very recently, had strong recovery and returned to her hometown of Columbus Ohio to transition back to life.
However, there was a problem. There was no one for her to hang out with. She could not find anyone young to relate to and found herself lonely with nothing to do and nobody to fellowship with, and inevitably, she ended up relapsing and going back to prison. I was furious. I was furious because in Ohio, young recovery is scarce yet absolutely necessary to stay clean and her parole officer would not let her leave the state. I knew from the day she told me she was confined to Columbus, Ohio, sobriety would be an uphill battle.
Had I not found a group of young guys and girls that were all in recovery and having fun and doing amazing things with their lives, getting sober would have been far more difficult, if not nearly impossible for me. Had my friend had someone, anyone, that she could share that same bond with in Columbus, she would have absolutely had a much better environment to maintain her recovery and assimilate back to society.
The truth is, there are only three places in the country that have a “hip” recovery scene: LA, NYC and South Florida. I am determined to change that. I know there are plenty of young kids all over that would get sober, or at least give it a shot if they saw hope of a “fun, edgy, cool life” without drugs and alcohol.
That is my mission and that is the point of the Over The Edge event on October 19th: To draw attention to the amazing young recovery scene here in LA and to hopefully inspire those across middle America to join together and form a young recovery scene of there own. It won’t be overnight, but it is more than attainable, and the time has never been better to tap into the youth- I should know, I’m one of them.
I want it to be known that I am cool, I am unorthodox (just read this article), I have tattoos. a great career, I just got back from EDC in Vegas, one of the biggest raves in the world, with a bunch of sober DJs that are all big in the EDM scene (a very non-sober industry), we stayed up till 6AM every night raging out harder than anyone there, had the time of our life, hung out with both sober and non-sober people and came back late Monday night. We don’t try and dodge drugs and alcohol, we simply don’t want it any more.