Inspire Addiction Recovery, in many ways, has been my entire lifetime in the making. My name is Christian Smith and I’m a recovering addict/alcoholic. I was born to a good family with goodly parents who taught me to be honest, kind, respectful, hardworking, and to love and fear God.
I never experimented with drugs or alcohol as a youth. I spent two years in South Africa as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Upon returning from South Africa, I married Kellene Harmer Smith and as of February 2015, we have been married for 34 years. We have four children – Adam (Natalie), Chad, Sara, and Abbey – and two grandchildren – Hallie Rose and Christian “Blake”.
My struggles began early in my marriage where for the first time in my life I began to experience (what I now know to be) emotional pain. It wasn’t some huge singular event rather many small things including the way my new companion and I would communicate with each other. Kelle is an assertive communicator, and I, more passive and passive aggressive. I remember early in our marriage wondering if our relationship would fail. Each time Kelle and I would “have words” I remember feeling less than and not enough. It hurt. On the sports field or golf course, I am this very competitive man ready to bury you, but in a one on one setting with my wife, this tiny woman, I want to run and hide.
A couple years into my marriage I was involved in a motorcycle accident. Upon being released from the hospital, I was given a prescription of painkillers called “Percodan”. I vividly remember early on that if the bottle said to take 1 or 2 pills as needed for pain, the physical pain would go away, but if I took 3 or 4 pills, not only did the physical pain go away my inner emotional pain also disappeared. Kelle could say anything to me and it didn’t hurt. I literally numbed myself with pain pills so I could not feel and I liked it.
I eventually healed from the accident and stopped taking pills. However, one cannot play church basketball as much as I did and not find themselves in the ER with some sort of injury. Each time I would go to the ER they would prescribe more pain meds. At one point, I began using pills 24/7 so I would not get “dope sick”. The details of my story are quite lengthy, this is the abbreviated version of the many events over many years which would lead to me being homeless, jobless, spending 18 months in jail, and becoming so totally alone. Perhaps I can share my experience in its entirety to you in person.
In 2008, following 18 months in jail, I came to a place where I wanted to find a better way of living. I wanted my wife back. I wanted my kids back in my life. I wanted my family back in my life. And I wanted MY life back. With no one to turn to and not a penny to my name, I was left with only a health insurance policy paid for by my wife’s employer, I decided to check into rehab. I went to a place in Sandy. It was close to the house (my house) where my family was living. I remember really enjoying the treatment. My counselor was a bit of a nerd, but I liked him from the start. And over the next 83 days, my life and the life of my immediate and extended family would change forever! I learned things in treatment such as the power of love, family dynamics, communication, honesty, boundaries, and forgiveness. I also learned about the brain and how the disease of addiction affects the brain. I truly loved rehab.
My family began to participate in the weekly family education and “process” sessions at the treatment center. Slowly and one by one they came, first my wife, then Sara followed by Abbey, and Adam. They began to allow me back into their lives. They began to forgive me as we spent many hours doing family “process” work. Chad was different. I had hurt Chad so much that he wasn’t ready to begin the healing process. The only time he could tell if I was telling the truth was when my lips weren’t moving. (Probably true at one point in my life.) With Chad, it would just take time – more than a year. Chad needed to see me change my ways over an extended period of time before he would risk re-engaging in our relationship. For Chad to open up and re-engage in the relationship he would risk being hurt all over again.
Shortly after I left treatment, I relapsed one last time and hurt my family again. But, I wouldn’t quit. I went back to treatment for another 30 days. It was then that using would never to be an option again.
The blessings of recovery have been more than I could have ever imagined! Kelle and I are so blessed to be grandparents to Hallie Rose and Christian Blake. I have wonderful relationships with all my kids, my wife, my friends, my extended family, and I have a relationship with God I never believed possible.
I knew early on in my relationship with my counselor, Jason Webb, that we had a place in each other’s lives. I felt strong that we would work together and we did. We worked together at a program in Utah County and it was awesome! After a year working in Utah County, I took a position as the Director of Marketing for a residential treatment center in Salt Lake County. It is a great program, but I felt it was lacking because it didn’t include the family members of clients. After a year at that program, I was given the opportunity to go back and work with Jason in Utah County and for the next year we had a great time working together. We were good, maybe even the best, at treating the entire family! In 2014, something began to happen in my heart and I had strong feelings I should open my own treatment center. Things were changing in the industry. It appeared to me that programs were losing focus on the quality of treatment and seeing treatment as a huge cash cow. I knew I couldn’t work where I was much longer and in January of 2015 I quit.
I began the journey of opening Inspire Addiction Recovery with my two sons, Adam and Chad, as my business partners. Can you imagine that? My two sons working with me, their dad, with absolute trust and mutual respect. What a blessing! And adding to our excitement, our clinical director is my best friend, Jason Webb, the best therapist I’ve personally ever known. He represents recovery the same way I see it with patience, kindness, respect, long-suffering, meekness, love unfeigned, and being clear with boundaries and expectations. Treating the family along with our clients is one of the most important parts of our treatment focus. And Jason is the best in the industry when it comes to treating the entire family. Nobody does it better.
It is important I always remember why we began Inspire Addiction Recovery. The experiences that I’ve had, and that my family have had, over the last 25 years has given us the unique opportunity to share what we’ve learned. It is our hope that through our program, we can lead others through the journey of recovery.