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Indianapolis man sharing recovery story hoping to help others

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An Indianapolis man who is in recovery is now sharing his story in an effort to help someone who has had the same struggle.

Paul Shepard is now 34 and has used drugs most of his life.

“I remember getting high the first time when I was 13. It’s been that long. It’s been 20 years. 20 years of messing up my life,” he recalled of his drug abuse.

The marijuana led to harder drugs and more abuse.

“When I started tattooing, I stopped doing hard drugs and we were eating pills all the time. Then I started shooting meth and after that it was all a big blur,” he added.

Shepard ended up in the emergency room after a drug overdose back in March. That is when he met his recovery coach, Dru Gaddie.

He would overdose one more time before making the decision to change his life for the better.

“If you keep yourself busy, you’ll have your moments,” he said. “I have dreams about it and that’s the worst. I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and think I got high, that’s the worst feeling in the world.”

He has been clean for almost six months now.

Gaddie is with a new program at IU Health called Peer Recovery Coaching. That program started in January and helps addicts beat addiction.

“I’ve seen some horrific things in the ER from this disease. Everybody is not like Paul. Everybody doesn’t make it,” Gaddie said.

Gaddie knows exactly what addicts deal with because he also has been in recovery for 12 years now.

“I think it was a destiny for me. I was destined to do this,” he added.

Since becoming clean, Shepard has secured a new job and apartment, and bought a new car.

“I say it all the time, if I can do it, anybody can.”