Out of the Ring, into Recovery
Before he became a voice of recovery, Everett abused alcohol and crack cocaine for about 20 years. He let down his extended family, his children and their mother. He felt like he was in a boxing ring, fighting a 12-foot monster.
“I’m in the ring and I’m not even swinging anymore – just taking punches, and I’m wondering why nobody threw in the towel, why nobody’s helping me. I turn around and look in my corner and I notice there’s nobody there, nobody at the fight with me. So I had the bright idea to get out of the ring.”
Everett circulated in and out of six different treatment facilities before he found his way to Gateway Foundation.
“Participating in treatment at Gateway was one of the best experiences of my life,” Everett says. “I knew I needed help again and I’m glad I went to Gateway.”
While at Gateway, Everett felt a level of love and caring he had never experienced before – a feeling he was ready to receive.
“Everyone was so approachable and I could go to anyone with a problem,” Everett says. “The level of caring is just over the top.”
He says the coping skills he learned at Gateway prepared him for the “boxing match” he knew he’d be fighting for the rest of his life. During treatment, he discovered the best way to survive the fight was to stay out of the ring, away from the people, places and things that could bring him down.
Life After Treatment
After attending addiction treatment programs, Everett went to a recovery home and began the second phase of his recovery. He participated in both intensive outpatient (IOP) and basic outpatient (BOP) programs at Gateway.
“The aftercare programs set Gateway Chicago Independence apart from anywhere else I went,” Everett says. “The programs are there for you when you need the support.”
The friendships he made through treatment have made a lasting impact on his life.
“My new friends understand what I’m going through in a way that people who are not in recovery cannot,” he says.
Additionally, Everett participated in Gateway’s Alumni Community events and reached out to those who completed treatment to check in on their progress and give them a sense of hope.
Everett offers his interpretation of Gateway’s name: “They’re saying, ‘Walk through this door – start a new beginning and change your life.’ They provide the gateway, a process to live by.”