After a few nights sleeping under a bridge, Will realized he was at rock bottom. 

At 25 years old, he recognized he was addicted to methamphetamine. It took another 10 years for him to realize that he wanted something better than that for his life. 

“I started to lose friends and family members because I was high and they didn’t want me around,” says Will.

Lost in addiction

At one point in the middle of his addiction, Will’s dad took back a ring he had given to him. “He looked at me and said he didn’t want me named after him,” remembers Will.

One of his darkest moments was finding out that he’d been unaware of his own brother’s death. “That’s something I don’t think I’ll ever forgive myself for, because I wasn’t there,” says Will. It was a year after his brother died that he heard the news.

Will struggled with homelessness, living without housing in Ukiah, and had nowhere to turn for support. “If you’re homeless, you’re treated like crap. You can’t sleep anywhere. They won’t let you in certain stores,” he says. “It’s hard to ask for help when people look down on you. It’s hard to have that confidence to say: I need help.”

Getting support for recovery

A new chapter of Will’s life started when he found Mendocino County AIDS/Viral Hepatitis Network (MCAVHN), where he gained access to resources and tools to navigate the road to recovery. 

“I was lucky to have a place like MCAVHN to teach me and to show me the tools,” he says.

Now in recovery, Will is grateful to be living in the comforts of his own home. He has reconciled with his family, and is glad to be wearing his dad’s ring again. “He said he was proud of me,” says Will. “Proud that I turned my life around, that I became sober.”

Each day is a challenge, but Will is glad to be here. He has community support and a strong foundation to continue growing. Today, Will is a volunteer at MCAVHN where he hopes to give other people the confidence to ask for help and find recovery.

“Rehab and sobriety are things I never thought I’d be able to do,” he says. “It’s better than drugs—it’s the greatest feeling in the world.”

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