My name is James Savage I was born and raised in the Mat-Su Valley, have been living a life of total abstinence since 7.27.2015.
I grew up in a household immersed in recovery and it did not prevent the disaster that was to come of my life. In 2010 I was working in a remote camp and was injured due to a fall from a ladder. I was left in camp for 36 hours with a severely broken foot due to bad weather and the inability for planes to fly in to get me. I was a young man who had carried life’s burdens from far too young of an age. This was the first time I was introduced to high grade opiates, for the first time in my life my mind was quiet. I would go on to have multiple surgeries in an attempt to regain full use of my right foot. This lead to years on pain medications in doctors’ offices, selling my injury to the highest prescriber. One day the doctor I had been using to obtain medications caught wind that I was abusing those medications. This was the beginning of a new chapter in my addiction. I quickly became what you would call a poly substance abuser in an attempt to curb the opiate withdraw that was imminent. I spent the next 4.5 years hopelessly addicted to Methamphetamine. July of 2015 I found myself sitting in Mat-Su Pretrial again, this time was different I didn’t want out. I didn’t want to have to run anymore, I didn’t want to lie anymore. I wanted it all to stop. There was a new twist I was trying to convince my loved ones and a judge that I was not mentally ill, there was really only one option. Come clean….
I got honest in a courtroom for the very first time in my active addiction and I was as shocked as the judge was. “Your Honor, I am an addict and I can’t stop”. These words were the key to the lock I had imposed on myself. This man must have seen the desperation all over me, 11 days later I was headed for residential treatment ( knowing what I know now about our system of services in Alaska this was clearly divine intervention).
After treatment I got connected with a group of men that were living out their recovery in a way that was attractive to me. Furthermore they were trying to help others. From this came a local agency formally known as Fiend2Clean. I began as a case manager helping others find the resources that were so desperately needed to maintain a lifestyle of recovery. I had found my freedom in service, helping others made me think of myself less. This work would become my life’s passion.
Today I work for Cook Inlet Tribal Council, I have obtained a CDC-S certification and I could go on and list some other accomplishments but they all pale in comparison to the fact that as a result of my recovery the people in my life today are proud of the man I have become. Furthermore I am proud of the man I am today.