Recently, Jodi Tarantino – a program director at the New England Recovery Center and licensed independent clinical social worker (LICSW) – spoke with a brave man named Kurt for our weekly radio show Airing Addiction. Kurt began abusing substances at the young age of eight. Seeking acceptance, Kurt gravitated to a group of older boys at school who introduced him to marijuana, alcohol and crime. They broke into local homes and cars, and got caught. Thus, beginning Kurt’s trouble with the law.
From nine to 16 years old, Kurt was involved in many programs for juvenile offenders including camps, foster homes and more. During these years, he tried cocaine, LSD and other illegal drugs as he continued turning to crime to fund his purchases.
Kurt was incarcerated a number of times. While on parole, he’d attend a few Narcotics Anonymous meetings, but never got truly involved in the recovery process or community. During one of his parole periods, in his late 30’s, Kurt found heroin. This led to another round of incarceration, at the Massachusetts Correctional Institute in Shirley.
There, Kurt says, he was “given the gift of desperation.” Seeing little hope for his future, Kurt enrolled in the Correctional Recovery Academy™ – a program offered by Spectrum Health Systems in many Massachusetts prisons to help inmates battle their addictions and prepare for a sober life outside the prison walls. He was successful – but he didn’t stop there. Upon his release in 2016, Kurt entered inpatient treatment at Spectrum’s Charles J. Faris Recovery Center. Now, he’s sober and living life crime free.