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Road to Recovery: David Crawley’s Story

Fifty-four-year-old David Crawley grew up in a big family – two brothers, two sisters and two parents. The Crawley family was supportive and loving, but his hometown of Roxbury, Massachusetts was filled with drugs, violence and crime which were hard to avoid.

“My parents were instrumental in teaching me how to become a man,” David said. “My brothers did the opposite and I copied them. I pushed through high school, graduated and worked part-time jobs, all while on drugs.”

After a brief stint in the U.S. Army, David was convicted of robbery and served five years in a state penitentiary where he received his first round of addiction treatment and an education. By the time he left prison, he had earned certificates in culinary arts, math and English.

Things were looking up for David and he got into trade work as a glazer, working on the installation of glass and mirror products. He got married and was expecting a child when the company filed for bankruptcy. As he was looking for new work, David started selling drugs to make ends meet. Soon, he was using again.

“It’s a vicious cycle. I went to my first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in 1991, but I didn’t like it. I did it for the wrong reasons – for my wife and son, instead of for me. I was a binge user. I thought I was okay, because it was easy for me to go months without using and then I’d go on a bender for a week or two. My family wouldn’t even know where I was. Then, I’d come back home to rebuild my life.”

In 2005, David was in and out of detox every three months. After the fourth time in detox, he decided that he needed to do something before it was too late. But, the only program that was available to him was a Christian program in Springfield, Mass.

“I started crying because I had tried everything but God. I thought, ‘Maybe now’s the time,’” he said.

David graduated from that program and ended up working there for four years, helping others through their recovery. After leaving his job at the program, he began using again eight months later and continued that way for another year.

On and off throughout his life, from ages 16 to 54, David struggled with addiction. When he saw a magazine advertisement from Spectrum Health Systems, he decided to give treatment another go.

Now, as a grandfather, David is open with his family about his struggles and hopes that they can learn from his story.

“I’m more in tune with my grandchildren now,” he said. “They haven’t been exposed to or affected by my wreckage, but they know about it. I used to not show up for games or I would rush out instead of helping, but now my time is focused on them and what they need.”

If there’s any advice David can give to anyone struggling with addiction and considering recovery, it’s this:

“Don’t beat yourself up. Give yourself a chance and be honest with yourself. Look at the reality of your life and your future. Don’t believe in the fantasy that drugs give you. Stick with recovery, no matter how hard it gets and no matter how hard it looks. You could still be out there on the streets, take a chance today.”

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, Spectrum Health Systems and the New England Recovery Center are here to help. For more information about our wide-range of treatment options, call us anytime at (800) 366-7732.

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