Douglas’ Story: Your Passion is Your Pathway to Recovery

Douglas’ Story: Your Passion is Your Pathway to Recovery

About two years ago because of my substance use challenges with alcohol in particular, I lost my job and actually lost one of the most powerful, wonderful relationships I was having in my life at the time.

I opened the door one Saturday morning, and standing at the door were two dear friends, my mom, my aunt, my sister and my cousin Lynn.

“When somebody hits that point of recovery, that shouldn’t define who they are as a person. Through those struggles we are further defined because we can grow,” says Douglas’ cousin Lynn. “I don’t want him to be afraid or alone or ashamed. Because I was there and wanted him to be okay.”

As you enter into the world as recovery you face so much stigma around that. The word recovery even has a stigma about it both in and outside of that community. Unfortunately, it’s just common. Millions of people have issues with [substance] use. So start talking about it. It’s ok to talk about it. The truth will set you free.

At 44, I can say that with absolute resolve. The truth, simple direct truth stated with compassion and empathy will set you free. There are a thousand pathways into dependency and substance use disorder, and there are thousands of pathways out.

Your passions, those are your pathways.

When drinking flew out the window, it was falling in love with that stuff all over again – art, design, reading, being in Lake Michigan. Life just unfolds. It’s real living. It’s real life. It’s unclouded life. The beauty of it and the struggles.

It’s that simple. It’s that true.

To see more of Doug’s amazing recovery story, visit

Doug is staff member at Recovery Allies and volunteers on the Pine Rest Retreat Center Recovery Alumni Board that sponsors the Together We Can! gathering which takes place at the Pine Rest Retreat Center the fourth Thursday of every month. Together We Can! is an information meeting discussing addiction, substance use disorder and living in recovery. The meetings are open to recovery alumni, family members and friends.

This material was created by a collaboration between the Grand Rapids Red Project, Recovery Allies and SideCare Studios and was supported by a grant from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services/Bureau of Community Based Services, Office of Recovery Oriented Systems of Care, through Lakeshore Regional Entity.

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