I have an opportunity for recovery today. My name is Nate. Seven months ago I felt pretty hopeless. I mean, I came from a dark place where I could never imagine living another day. A lot of thoughts were juggling in my mind and I was trying to think to myself, 'What can I do to better myself? What can I do to become a better person for society and for my family? For my own sake?' Well, a friend told me about a program called Amber's Place. I moved all the way out from New Bedford, Massachusetts with probably a trash bag and a duffel bag full of clothes. I mean, I was scared, lost, and I didn't really know what I was getting myself into. But where I am today, it's just like, I look back and it amazes me. I'm thinking like, I never thought I'd have the courage or the hope to actually become somebody that helps somebody else in recovery. After volunteering the last six months for Hope for New Hampshire [Recovery], it helped me create myself and find myself and become a better person. What I learned more about myself is like, I have a big heart for people. And since people reached out to me and helped me so easily, and opened their hearts, their homes, their hands for me, I decided, 'What's the best gift to give back?' So I basically just took everything I've learned over the last six months. I came out here not knowing a g**-damned thing, like I just said. But one thing I had on my mind was all the friends that I lost, family members that I lost because I was selfish and I decided that drugs were more important than myself, knowing that a year before I actually came out here, a very close friend to me that I considered a brother my whole life passed away from an overdose. And that's where it hit hard. That's why I just choked up. There's a lot on my mind when I get into the discussion, but if feels good to express where I'm at now and where I stand as a person in recovery. Because seven months -- I never thought I'd make it that far. I do it for him, I do it for me, and I do it just to be a role model for everybody around me. To show them like, yo -- this is really possible that this could happen. Like I said, I can't stop saying it. I never really thought this could happen. It just amazes me. I have a job now working with two of my great friends over at Manchester Mental Health. Six, seven years ago I was on the other side of the table at a crisis center. And now I'm talking to people, relating to people, and telling them there's another side to the bridge here. You don't always have to feel frightened, and feel discouraged, and just want to jump off. You don't have to feel lost. There's always a match someone's willing to hand you. You can just take that and run, and just never look back. Because that's something I still to today -- I look back, and I'm just like, 'Yo, this kind of scares me, that makes me feel a certain type of way.' But you know what? If I could be the man I once was coming out here, knowing I had nothing but clothes and a wallet that had not a lot of cash in it, not knowing where I was going to live, what I was going to eat that day... Everything can change and turn around for the better. I highly encourage everybody to support and help this movement because I'm just one out of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people that suffer from addiction. It's real -- it's realer than you could ever have thought. I was the kid that grew up and I was troubled, but I never, ever, ever thought I could have ever become addicted to drugs. Well, you know what? It's real. It happens. And it's unfortunate, it's bad decisions, it's people, places and things -- that's the best thing I ever heard because you are who you hang around. And I truly believe that. So with that being said, I highly encourage everybody to just support the movement.
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