Like too many men, Brad McLeod didn’t think he’d become an addict. He didn’t seek out his first dose of opioid painkillers either. He didn’t need to. Because his pills came straight from a doctor who prescribed them after a hernia surgery.
And, like too many men, McLeod had no idea what he was in for.
“I had no real education about the dangers about these pills,” said the now 30 year-old. “It was not something anyone around me talked about.”
That lack of education and silence would eventually have a catastrophic effect on McLeod. First, he got hooked on the pills. Then he graduated to heroin.
McLeod became a full-fledged addict. And he abused both substances for about four years.
As you might suspect, McLeod’s then life went from bad to worse. Way worse. In January 2010 he was arrested on drug trafficking charges. He then spent a year in prison. At the end of his sentence, McLeod realized he faced a very tough choice.
“This was my opportunity to make changes or continue how things were before.”
McLeod was smart. He opted for change. It wasn’t easy. Even after a year off the streets. McLeod began his recovery at a methadone clinic. Every day, for about a year, he’d line up to get a dose of the medication used to treat those addicted to heroin and opioids.
McLeod didn’t want to be on drugs though. Any drugs. Prescribed or not. To him that still meant being an addict. So he opted out of the still somewhat controversial Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT).
That meant total abstinence.
As you might suspect, a detox program came next. Methadone is as addicting as heroin or painkillers. Some say even more so. Whatever the degree, McLeod needed a place to help him through the inevitable withdrawal symptoms.
But he did it. McLeod’s now eight years sober. He’s gainfully employed as a peer support worker at an addiction treatment facility in Ontario, Canada. And because “not everyone has insurance to attend a treatment center on the beach,” McLeod also runs a virtual recovery coaching business called Brad McLeod Recovery.
McLeod is also a father and husband, son and grandson, cousin and nephew. In other words, a full-fledged family man in good standing. Something he unlikely never envisioned when his addiction drove him to traffick in drugs.
And as this Insider report makes clear, McLeod’s also ‘living proof that addiction can affect all kinds of people — even those who never sought out drugs in the first place.’
“People think they are immune to addiction,” he said. “[But] it can happen to anyone.”
We at the Schnellenberger Family Foundation know that fact only too well. We’ve encountered case-after-case just like McLeod’s at both our affiliated Recovery Boot Camp addiction treatment center and Healing Properties sober living facility. We’ve also encountered addiction in our very own family.
Yes, addiction can happen to anyone. But sobriety can happen to anyone too. And we began the Schnellenberger Family Foundation in order to help make sobriety happen as much as possible. We want every addict out there to have a chance to beat their addiction and go on to become a family man in good standing. Just like Brad McLeod.