Meet Jared Croy, CASAC, and a person living in sustained recovery coming up on 10 years this May! Congratulations Jared!

Jared is one of the founding members of F.O.R.C.E. (Friends of Recovery Clinton, Essex and Franklin Counties) and is currently working as an Outpatient Chemical Dependency Counselor at Champlain Valley Family Center in Clinton County. He lives in the little upstate town of Peru, NY with his wife and children.

His Story
May 10th 2008, I got sober in Arizona, but was born and raised in Idaho.

Before Recovery:
I took my first drink at age 10. I did not grow up with Substance Use Disorder in my family, as they were “non-drinkers”. Alcohol could be in the fridge for a year. Drinking wasn’t a regular thing for me at that time, but it did something for me that I remembered. By the age of 13, I had been drunk only a handful of times, but that is when I began smoking marijuana. I tried cocaine at the age of 15 and began acting out – stealing etc. to get money for drugs. At 16, I was introduced to methamphetamine and within a month I ran away from home. This led to my first arrest at 17 years old. That is also when I was introduced to opiates, trying OxyContin during football season.
I lived between my two parents’ houses repeating some of the same kind of stuff despite being on house arrest or on probation. Because I was an athlete, a lot of things were overlooked so I was able to finish high school and go away to college. Within two weeks my house was being raided for drug use and all the activities that went with that happening in my apartment. By age 20 I had been arrested 15 times, was living in alley ways, and was 60 lbs lighter. I was using prescription opiates and methamphetamines, mostly trying not to be sick.

Transformational Moments:
I had my last use just before being literally hit with a two by four and being left for dead at a drug deal ambush. Thankfully, I was picked up by the police, went to jail and later accepted a 3-7 year plea bargain.

There I met up with someone that I knew from a previous time in jail who was now giving “church sermons” every night. It was an emotional experience – my Higher Power hit me right in the heart as I heard him talking about God and being willing to pay the consequences for his behavior due to his use. I was crying as he was talking…afterwards I called my father to make amends and to ask for help. Amazingly, the judge agreed to let me go to treatment and postponed my sentencing.

The Early Road to Recovery:
My family wanted me to travel out of state for treatment because I was always around people who were using. So I went to long term inpatient residential treatment in Arizona. After treatment, I went to a transitional living program, which no longer exists, through Gate House Academy, at Haven Oaks farm, a horse farm in Ft. Edward, NY. It had equine assisted psychotherapy and was phenomenal! It wasn’t ritzy. We had farm hand type apartments and got up at 5:30 every morning. During birthing season we took turns doing overnight shifts. I ended up being a senior person and in charge of new people.

Another God Moment:
After being in New York for 7 months I had to go back before the judge in Idaho. I was willing to accept whatever the outcome would be even if that meant having to serve my 3-7 year sentence. In the court room I watched every one of the 13 people in front of me get sent to prison. I was convinced that this would be my fate as well and then I started to pray. The prosecutor told the judge what I was doing in NY and miraculously, the judge said to go back to NY and continue helping other addicts.

Community and Purpose:
I stayed at the horse farm in Ft. Edward until July of 2010. After their funding dried up I found an apartment in Saratoga Springs and began working. My chosen pathway of Recovery is Mutual Aid (12 Step). I had established a home group and met up with people who go to meetings and spent one year living in Saratoga. I got a job at Crandall House (Chemical Dependency Community Residence run by 820 River St. Inc.) as a counselor and worked at St. Joe’s inpatient program in Saranac Lake. I started at Conifer Park in 2013 and worked my way up to being the Assistant Director for 3 years. I don’t consider my profession my recovery program, because my job is to focus on helping people with their problems not to fix mine….but it has given me purpose and stability.

Home, Health and Hope:
I went from being homeless, with nowhere to lay my head, and now because of recovery, I own my own home. I’ve paid my debts. I’ve been married for 5 years and have two beautiful sons and an awesome step son. This is nothing that I could have planned out if I wanted to. I go to meetings. I don’t fear drugs and alcohol anymore and I don’t have the urge to get high. It’s amazing to see how desperate and demoralized I was – to how happy, confident, and free I am now.

Now, I advocate for people in recovery. I participate in task forces. I see people struggling to get jobs. I know that it’s a challenge. What I like about what is going on now that we are “Recovering out Loud”….is that we discovered that employing people in Recovery helps people stay in Recovery.

How much we’ve turned the corner in the last few years. We’re not Junkies, holding on….we’re people providing hope. What we’re doing is working!