Meet Trey McBreyer – or better known around HT’s campus – Triple Nickel. He’s Silver Chipper #555 and lives out Recovery Life by giving back to Healing Transitions as a part of our Rapid Responder team. This is Trey’s story of recovery: from the darkness of addiction to the light of healing.
LIFE BEFORE HEALING TRANSITIONS
There are pictures of me as a child in diapers with a Miller High in one hand and a cigarette in the other. What was once a joke to capture on camera spiraled into a gripping addiction that threatened my family, my future, my culture, and my life. I was raised under the philosophy, “If you work hard, you can play hard.” I started using drugs at eight years old. My dad tried to teach me at an early age about our culture and art, something that would help me in life, but drugs and alcohol took over.
I went to my first treatment center at 10, and the cycle of getting help and relapsing repeated and progressively worsened. By 15, I was on the streets of Atlanta. The art skills my dad taught me helped me get a job, and within a year, I was running the guy’s business. With a steady paycheck, I was able to afford the finer things. Since I worked hard, I acted on my family’s philosophy, and I played hard. I didn’t realize that I was quickly becoming a problem to everyone I loved. I was able to hide behind all of the nice stuff. I had the house, I had the car, I had the family. And I was on top of the world… until I wasn’t.
The economy crashed in 2008 and I lost everything. I spiraled out of control, lost my kids, and burned every relationship I had to the ground.
My sister came to pick me up and brought me back to North Carolina, but I had to leave soon because she didn’t want me around her kids. I found out years into sobriety that they used to spend their weekends driving around downtown Raleigh looking for me. After being homeless for a couple years, I got arrested, and I was mandated to go to The Healing Place (now Healing Transitions). I left the courtroom that day and went on one more run since I had 48 hours before I had to check in.
ARRIVING AT HEALING TRANSITIONS
When I walked in the doors of Healing Transitions, I was 37 years old and it was my 17th treatment center. After detox, Chris Budnick brought me into his office. He told me that my mom had passed away on my first day here. It was the turning point I needed. As soon as I got clean and had the opportunity to leave, I was planning to go on the run as a felon to avoid prison for 18 years. But my mom’s death shifted my thinking.
I realized my best bet was to stay for a little while and figure out my next step. That evening, a guy came and sat beside me in detox. Next thing I know, he’s asking me to pray with him, and prayer was something I’d never really done before. In recovery, we learn about the gift of desperation, and I was desperate enough to do something different. It was time to make a change. After that prayer, he told me to grab a piece of paper and we started working the steps.
I got a sponsor (Jerry), and he’s exactly what I needed. Jerry met me right where I was, even though I was rough around the edges. He didn’t sugarcoat anything, but he also didn’t back down. He was an example of someone I wanted to become. He was happy, he was confident, and he was giving back to others. So I kind of just clung close to him and asked a whole bunch of questions.
I kept working the steps, and it did work. I got sober, and I’ve stayed sober.
I completed the program and Silver Chipped in December 2012. I left HT and got a job as a production manager for a screen printing company, so I was able to use my art skills.
The amends process is when I really started feeling recovery. For the first time, I was able to truly realize just how delusional I’d been for so long from the drugs and the alcohol. I picked back up on the culture my dad taught me and started participating in doing the sweat lodges as an amends process to my dad (who had passed) and respecting the culture of the Lakota Sioux tribe he tried to teach me.
It hasn’t been easy. But Jerry and a lot of other people believed in me. Life does show up. I’ve experienced a lot in the past 11 years of sobriety: losing both my parents, going years without my kids, moving, changing jobs… and I stayed sober.
GIVING BACK TO HEALING TRANSITIONS AS A RAPID RESPONDER
I’ve been working here at Healing Transitions since early September as a Rapid Responder. I love the job, and I love my team. We have the privilege of being on the front lines helping people whose shoes I was once filling.
There’s nothing else like Healing Transitions. I tell everyone I meet in green scrubs, “I’ve worn the scrubs you’re wearing, I’ve sat in that chair you’re sitting in, and I’ve felt the way you feel. And my experience is if you end up at Healing Transitions, it is an opportunity for LIFE. It is not a punishment.”
This place hasn’t just saved my life. It’s changed my life. And I get to make sure nobody else ever has to feel alone again.
Listen to Trey’s full story on our Voices of Recovery podcast!