“When I was 15, I broke my pinky and the doctor prescribed hydrocodone. And I loved them.” Idahoans talk about #Recovery

The 2nd annual Recovery Month Awards and Proclamation celebration was held Sept. 1, 2017 at the Idaho State Capitol to kick off national Recovery Month this month, dedicated to strengthening families and communities through hope for recovery from drug, alcohol and substance use addiction and mental illness.

During the program, several Idahoans spoke about their personal journey to recovery and how it has impacted their lives, families and communities. You can hear and watch these “Voices for Recovery” on the video posted above or linked here.  Below are just a few excerpts from some of the speakers:

Rosie Andueza

 “Yes, we have problems. We’re here today to acknowledge the problems we have, but also to celebrate recovery. Addiction is a disease, it’s no different than heart disease, it’s not different than diabetes. It is not a moral failing. But what we hear portrayed is, ‘They could stop if they just wanted to.’ I know several of you in this room are in recovery, and I know several of you would agree:  You can’t just stop if you wanted to.” – Idaho Division of Behavioral Health Program Manager Rosie Andueza.

Matt Sather

 “As a parent, I made mistakes, I made extremely poor choices that have  been embarrassing for my family, that have been embarrassing for me and have brought shame.  But the gift and benefit that comes from being sober is I get to be an example to my children of what it looks like to accept the consequences of my behavior, to accept responsibility and to stand up underneath it and to walk forward. Those are skills I did not have prior to becoming sober.”Matt Sather, husband of 26 years and father of two grown children; recent graduate in clinical counseling from Northwest Nazarene University.

Swede Schmidt

“I’m not here to tell you anything that might help you. I’m here so I won’t drink today. That’s why I’m here. If you benefit, great! But I’m here for me, because it is all about me. Because if I’m not worth a damn to me, I cannot possibly be of any use to you.” Swede Schmidt, Idaho furniture designer, recently celebrated 15 years of sobriety.


Brandi Irons

“When I was 15 I broke my pinky and the doctor prescribed Hydrocodone. And I loved them, I loved them so much that I began to continue to use them and find more and search them out, look in my parent’s medicine cabinet and my friends’ parents medicine cabinets. And I developed a full-blown opioid addiction at age 15. After that it kept spiraling out of control, so I started using oxycodone, oxycontin, anything that would numb the pain I didn’t realize I was having. I didn’t know how to cope properly, so I turned to drugs and alcohol all the time and I never got caught. No one ever noticed me because I looked like this innocent little girl that would just go to school and get good grades and no one ever thought I had a problem. People think this opioid crisis just snuck up on America. No, it’s been going on for a long time.”Brandi Irons, North Idaho College student and mother of 2-year-old son, employed at Kootenai Recovery Community Center.


Take the first step in your journey to recovery. Click here or call 1-800-922-3406 to locate a publicly funded substance use disorder treatment program or find out if you are eligible to receive state funded care.

To learn more about Recovery Month in Idaho and see other Idahoans who were recognized this month as champions for recovery, visit the Idaho Division of Behavioral Health’s Event Calendar.

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