Gage Theodore is the Director of Operations at Fresh Start Recovery Center in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Theodore was born and raised in Gaithersburg, attending high school and playing sports there. He began drinking and using drugs around the beginning of high school, at age 14.
“I did a lot of crazy partying at a young age,” he said. “As I got older, the drugs progressed and so did the consequences.”
Aside from the 10 months he spent in Palm Bay, Florida for treatment, Theodore has happily spent his entire life in Gaithersburg. Though he knew he wanted to return to Maryland, Theodore worked diligently on his recovery in Florida. While he was there he went to detox, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient and outpatient programs, all while residing in a sober living community.
“I knew I wanted to come home,” he said. “But I knew If I came home before I was ready, I’d be back in that cycle of addiction.”
Putting His Recovery to Work
Upon his return, Theodore moved back in with his supportive parents, worked two jobs – as a part-time server at a deli, and as a patient service representative for a radiology center – and dove head first into Gaithersburg’s recovery community. He started making close friends in that community.
Among those friends were Kabir Singh and Nick Albaugh, co-founders of Fresh Start Recovery Center. The two sensed that Theodore’s strong work ethic would fit well with their new facility.
“I think they saw a person who needed an opportunity,” Theodore said. “Someone had given them an opportunity in the past and they were just paying it forward.”
Theodore has been part of Fresh Start Recovery Center since the day it opened, starting off as a Behavioral Health Technician and working his way up to his current position as Director of Operations.
“I had no prior experience working in the field,” he said, “but I came in and hit the ground running. I’ve put my heart and soul into Fresh Start.”
He’s put his heart and soul into recovery outside of Fresh Start too. In December he will receive his Bachelor’s degree in Human Services, he is currently a Certified Recovery Coach. He’s certified in mental health first aid, and as an ADT in Maryland.
Exceptional Treatment at Fresh Start
Theodore recognizes that much of the staff at Fresh Start have the same passion for recovery that he does, both in and out of the workplace.
“A lot of the people here are in recovery and we have footprints in the recovery community outside of Fresh Start,” he said. “We’re able to get the people staying in this area plugged into the recovery community.”
Theodore also believes that Fresh Start’s sober housing component helps it stand apart from other treatment centers. It’s a place to learn simple life skills that many in active addiction haven’t had the opportunity to learn, a safe place to ask for help.
“I was able to climb my way out of hell,” he said. “We know how to beat ourselves up and ask for help, but that’s the most important thing: to ask for help.”