It took three weeks for Tim Ryan to stop taking drugs and drinking alcohol.
He was sentenced to seven years in prison after his fifth prison term. Ryan was deprived of his license and was under the driver's influence at the Illinois Receiving Center for the third time before being taken to the Sheridan Correctional Center.
Ryan was unable to sleep for a month and was constantly ill because he was unable to drink cocaine. After three weeks, he made a deal with God.
"After three weeks I said," God, I'm done, "he said," I can't do this anymore. "Please take this obsession, this compulsion to use, and I swear I'll give my life to you."
The following day, he learned that he had been sent to Sheridan, one of two Illinois facilities offer therapeutic drug treatment.
Ryan and his fiancée Jennifer Gimenez reported on addiction and recovery during a two-hour lecture in the Breck Auditorium at Shelbyville High School on Thursday evening.
] While in prison Ryan's wife divorced him, he lost his home due to foreclosure and learned that his son Nick, with whom he had used drugs before Tim was sentenced to prison, had overdosed a few times.
Ryan was released clean and sober from prison after 13-1 / 2 months, went to meetings, found a sponsor, founded his community charitable organization and founded self-help groups.
But while he had finally laid the foundation for his recovery, his son had not done so.
] Despite repeated treatment, Nick was overdosed 21 months after his sobriety.
Before Tim and Nick went to prison, they started taking heroin together after Tim found out that Nick believed his father was successful because he was a functional user.
"It not only hurt myself, endangered my own life, but also that of my son," said Tim. "But you don't care because you live to live and to live. It's that simple."
Tim found out about his son's overdose less than two years after he was released from prison when his ex-wife called and informed him and picked him up. They went to the emergency room where Tim saw a chaplain shortly after his arrival.
He knew that his son had died at that moment.
His first thought was that he would be that evening at 6:00 pm session of the support group.
"This obsession and this compulsion had been removed because I finally had a basis for my recovery," he said. "I had a pass to get up. (I) just killed my son and I'm the one who wants to go high? No. I have to go to a meeting. "
He was responsible for his son's death for years.
" I would say I killed my own son, "he said." I didn't kill Nick. The addiction killed him. Nick had been treated several times. He knew what to do. He decided against it. "
Ryan said he sent 58 of his son's friends for treatment. He attended 150 funerals.
The youngest person he spoke to about his organization, the A Man In Recovery Foundation , collaborated was 12, the oldest, 78.
He told the audience that if they have someone who has to deal with addiction, they are not the cause. They cannot cure or control it, he said.
But they also have to help themselves.
"he said. "This isn't just Johnny or Bobby or Susie and their little alcohol problem. It is everyone. It affects the whole family. “
Rhetorically he asked the audience if anyone had ever decided to become addicted.
"But here is what you need to understand," he said.
"This is the only disease that you can get straight to recovery with a few simple tools and a tribe of good people."
He suggested going to a children's hospital or old people's home and told the patients that he could provide the "spiritual tools" and steps to recover from their illness if they all accepted his offer.
" If you have a heartbeat … you have hope. You are not a junkie, you are not a drug addict, you are not a drunk. You are a person with substance abuse disorder, a disease you have never chosen that came from your parents, grandparents, or whoever. But we have to get together as a community like Shelbyville is, and there are some great things here. "