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Forever Free: In Recovery

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Forever Free: In Recovery

Hello. My name is Scott Ashley Welch. I am 42 years old. I suffered through more than 20 years of active addiction. My main drug of choice during those years was crack cocaine, however over the years I tried just about anyting and everything else that one could imagine in my persuit of "getting high".

I started using drugs at the age of 14. I was 15 the first time I got drunk and at age 17 I used cocaine for the first time.

When I was 19, I remember dropping of an ex-girlfriend of mine to a drug treatment program. Watching her battle her own addiction I felt a great sense of sorrow and pity for what I then thought was simply a lack of self control on her part in regards to her own drug use.

I would also think to myself how that could not, would not, ever happen to me. I was in control. I could stop anytime I wanted to, only thing was I didnt want to stop. I didnt see myself as a "drug addict". I worked a full-time job. My life was great. I had a lot of friends. People trusted and respected me and they all knew I was someone who used drugs. So in a nutshell I didnt think I had a drug problem. I simply enjoyed getting high.

It didnt take long for all that to change. By the time I was 23, I was a full blown addict. I was a thief and a liar. All my friends had long deserted me, too afraid to allow me in their homes for fears that I would try to steal or scam them in some way for money. I was wanted by the police, living on the run, homeless, and willing to do just about anything to feed my addiction. I had ripped off all my family and friends. The only people who I associated with were other drug users. I didnt care about anyone or anything except where my next high was coming from.

This life crime and addiction would last for another 12 years and would take me all over the country as I tried to run from not only from the law and other problems, but also from myself. I knew that my life was out of control, that I needed help, and yet despite all that, my urge to use overpowered my own self awareness and desire for a change. I thought with each move things would be different. They call this the "geographical cure". Needless to say, no matter how many times I moved or how many different places I travelled to, eventually things would always end up the same.

I was 35 before I finally stopped using crack. By then I was a 6 time convicted felon, having even went to prison once as a direct result of my desire to use. Something inside of me had changed though. I was finally sick and tired of being sick and tired. I not only wanted to change my life, but I was determined to make it happen.

It hasn't been easy. I struggled for the first 2 years, sometimes the urge would almost over power me, but all I had to do was think of where satisfying that urge would take me. I would think of all the nights spent on the mean streets of Los Angeles, homeless, sleeping under a tree praying to God to keep me safe. I would think back to all the days I spent looking through barred windows, where I was nothing but a number to the prison officials who watched over me. I would think about all the tears cried by my friends and family as they watched my life spiral out of control while they were powerless to stop me.

I would think of a lot of things, but mostly I think about how I enjoy life now. I think about how I can feel again. I think about how proud my family is. I think about how good it feels to be free, and not locked up in some cell. I think about the possibilities life has to offer, and lastly I think about the fact that I am even alive.

Addiction will lead you to one of three places: Institutions, Jails, or Death.

Its true for anyone who is addicted to drugs and continues to abuse them. There are no exceptions. There is no escape. There is however hope. It doesnt have to end that way. There is a fourth place you can end up. Its called "In Recovery"

I have been clean and sober since June 30th, 2006. I am about to graduate from college with a degree in Human Services, specializing in Addictions Counseling.

Life is still hard, nothing will ever change about that. But it's not about how hard life is, it's about how one approaches those challenges, and the tools they use to overcome them. Drugs will destroying everything, only hope can rebuild what is lost and only I have the power to make it happen.

Today I am proud to say I have overcome. Today, but what about tomorrow? Well, I will worry about tommorrow when tomorrow comes and I will approach it as I do every day, but I am free.


Scott Ashley Welch

This Story of Hope was created in celebration of recovery and to let families know that there are pathways to hope and healing. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is the only nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families who are struggling with their son or daughter's substance use. Please consider sharing this page so that families know where to turn to for help, and that there is always hope.

Guest Book


1. Jane
Thank you so much - your story is so touching.