Patrick H.–an alumnus of the program at Blueprint Recovery Center in Concord, New Hampshire–grew up an only child in Leominster, Massachusetts. He was raised by very loving parents in a home without substance use issues. His father never drank, while his mother only had an occasional glass of wine.
Patrick was diagnosed with ADHD and struggled in school. He was bullied and became a jokester in order to fit in. One area he did excel in was baseball, a routine that kept him away from using drugs and alcohol like some of his peers. His father always encouraged him to be the best player he could be. But when Patrick’s father left the family during his sophomore year in high school, he tried substances for the first time.
“As an only child, my dad was like a father and a brother,” Patrick said. “When my dad left, the floodgates opened. When I drank, I finally got that feeling of being accepted and fitting in.”
The next two years, Patrick began routinely drinking and smoking pot. After graduating high school, his grades didn’t allow for him to be accepted into most colleges, which ended his baseball career. Patrick spent a lot of time hanging out with another friend who didn’t get into college, who recreationally used Percocet. Patrick’s own use of the drug escalated quickly.
At age 21, Patrick began attending an Associate’s Degree program at a college in Vermont. While he was at school, he wouldn’t use opiates, but he always used them again when he returned home to Massachusetts.
After finishing his degree, he moved in with a friend in Putney, Vermont. Unbeknownst to him, his new roommate’s girlfriend used opiates. He began using again. He spent most days driving from Putney to Leominster to buy drugs.
Patrick’s first go-round in treatment was at a detox facility in Worchester, Massachusetts.
“Around age 25 they sent me to a 21-day detox,” he said. “It was run-down and dirty, and I fought the process the whole time. They treated my physical symptoms, but not the actual problem, which is in my mind.”
Patrick did not successfully stay sober, though he did find a job working as a lifeguard at a hotel. He tried heroin for the first time in June of 2019, and within a year overdosed. His mother saved his life with CPR.
In February 2020, Patrick placed a call to Blueprint Recovery Center. Upon entering the program, he learned that most of the staff at Blueprint are in recovery. He finally saw the miracle of recovery in action.
“The staff is one of us,” he said. “They’re not going to ask you to do something that they haven’t done themselves. There was a glow coming off the tech staff and case managers. I said, ‘I want that glow.’”
In addition to putting down drugs and alcohol, Patrick was able to confide in the staff and fellow clients at Blueprint. He told them something he had never told anyone before.
“I was able to come out as a gay man in treatment,” he said. “It made me comfortable enough to accept myself. I was protected there, so I thought, ‘There is no better time to do this than right now.’ That was a 14-year secret. Now that I’m finally the person I want to be, I can start recovering.”
Now in a sober living home in Manchester, New Hampshire, Patrick works daily on his recovery, including attending Blueprint Alumni Meetings. He hopes that someday he will be able to work in the treatment field, specifically at Blueprint. The state of the world can be stressful; Patrick says he owes much of his serenity to his experience at Blueprint.
“I’m able to sit with myself now,” he said. “I have a very peaceful mindset and I wouldn’t have been able to do that without Blueprint’s help.”