WILMINGTON--Drug and alcohol abuse plagues people all across America, but an event in Wilmington focused on those who've been able to overcome their addictions.
A recovery celebration was held in honor of National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month.
Former addict James Duley's experimentation with drugs and alcohol started at an early age. "I was basically homeless. I had outworn all my welcomes," he said. That abuse was fueled by a mental health disorder. "I was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder as well as addiction," Duley said. "So, that would be considered a dual diagnosis."
But after years of struggling, Duley has now been sober for a full decade. He's the first to admit, it hasn't been an easy road. "It took me eight years to get my first year," he said.
Sunday, former addicts and those still battling addiction came out for a Recovery Celebration in Wilmington. Experts say the number of people in need of help in North Carolina is staggering.
Donna Cotter with Recovery NC said, "Every year, 650,000 North Carolinians need treatment and don't receive it."
But the number of people who are beating their addictions is growing every day. "We're lucky to give 57,000 people treatment," Cotter said. And former highway patrolman Michael Chavis is part of those ranks. "When I retired from the highway patrol ... I began to drink," Chavis said. "But when my pain got so deep ... I became actively involved in recovery."
Those who have been able to overcome addiction credit counseling and recovery programs with their success. But more than that, Duley noted an addict has to want to get better. "The successes I have seen are the people who chose to go to Alcoholics Anonymous or chose to go through the 12-step process."
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offers a free and confidential 24-hour help line for anyone struggling with addiction. That number is 1-800-662-HELP.