Freshman year of high school I got caught smoking marijuana on the campus by our favorite teacher. I got expelled from the school and I went into depression.

I got back into school, played sports, but I still drank and smoked. Then eventually I used meth, until one night I overdosed. That really took me by surprise. It woke me up to realize that I could’ve lost my life.

I realized that I needed to stop abusing myself. My body and my spirit was telling me that I have a bigger purpose to serve.

To be able to recover here in my own community at home was the best thing, because it opened my eyes to what the true meaning of being a community member, a family member, a friend, a husband, really means.

The life I live today is amazing. I’m thankful to be able to experience fatherhood and being married for almost 12 years. My mind and my heart is open. I feel connected. Through recovery, that’s possible.

– Joel Merrifield
Round Valley CA
Tribal Health Youth Coordinator

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