30 Jul Fletcher- recovery rekindles high school sweetheart love
The Story of Fletcher
My name is Fletcher and I am in long-term recovery.
The story of my addiction began 1986 when I became addicted to crack cocaine. I was an EMT in both Oregon and Washington working on my Paramedic license, married with a child at home, and I owned my own business installing irrigation. Burning the candle at both ends is never a good thing and I ruined my life in an instant. Ten years later in 1996 I ended up in prison for robbery both one and two and attempted robbery charges. I ended up serving twelve years in prison with no opportunity to earn anytime time off for being a model prisoner due to a mandatory minimum sentence. I had lost my wife and children, my business, and I gave up my license as an EMT.
While in prison I decided I didn’t ever want to go back so I went to all of the 12-step meetings and decided I would not use ever again. I told myself that whatever I was asked to do by probation officers when I got out I would do gladly and with vigor. I ended up getting out in 2009 and the first thing I did was find a 12-step meeting.
I wasn’t able to get a job until August, but I finally did get a chance at Carl’s Jr. in downtown Portland. I was able to move up into a supervisory position despite my record. I kept my job there for a year until I decided to become a drug and alcohol counselor and went back to school to get my degree.
I had recently found my girlfriend from high school and we had resumed our earlier relationship. She supported my goal of going back to school and so I enrolled in school. While living in an Oxford House, I started school in early 2010 at Portland Community College for my Associates Degree in Alcohol and Drug Counseling and quit work. Then I married my high school sweetheart on 10/02/2010 and life just got better. I ended up with a work-study grant and went to work for the Alcohol and Drug department as a tutor and program student adviser. I worked there in that position for one year and learned a lot about addiction counseling.
I graduated from college in 2012 with highest honors by maintaining a 3.91 cumulative GPA. Due to my high grades I was able to secure a paid internship as an Alcohol and Drug Counselor. I was certified by the State of Washington as a Chemical Dependency Professional Trainee and that was after a full background check. I now work in Mental Health Services treating dual diagnosis clients. This is an area that requires intensive background checks, but due to living a new life of recovery, I was trusted to work with the clients that need help most.
So after ruining everything I held dear and going to prison for very serious crimes I now, only four and a half years after getting out of prison, have:
- Graduated with highest honors with my degree
- Been certified Substance Abuse Counselor by Portland Community College and the State of Washington
- Become employed in a mental health facility as a Dual Diagnosis Therapist
- Been allowed back into Washington State Prisons before the required five years out of the system to share my experience and hope for a better way of life
- Become married to the love of my life
- And, most important of all, have almost 17 years of continued recovery
Note from Patty Katz- Fletcher also creates the most wonderful photos for Hands Across the Bridge and Oxfest!