Meet Eddie — A Success Story
By Sandra Gore and Eddie
Note: This story was originally published in the June 2019 Wallowa Valley Center for Wellness newsletter.
Eddie struggled for years with substance use and mental health concerns that went undiagnosed. As a result of his actions, Eddie lost his immediate family and the support of his extended family, with the exception of his father. Eddie came to Wallowa County to live with his father after a traumatic brain injury which happened during a beating in California. Eddie needed surgery and extensive physical therapy. Eddie reports, “I had to learn to walk and talk again. My dad moved me to Wallowa County and helped me get back on my feet, literally.”
Sadly, Eddie got involved with drugs again in 2016 and was charged with distributing methamphetamines while in jail. He pled guilty with the exception of insanity to the charges and was placed under the jurisdiction of the Psychiatric Security Review Board (PSRB). Eddie was committed to the Oregon State Hospital (OSH) in 2016 on an Aid and Assist and was released in January 2017 to the care of Wallowa Valley Center for Wellness (WVCW). Staff here were able to enroll him in services and place him at Pioneer Guest Home to live, where he resided as a condition of his release, until March 2019.
With the encouragement of his PSRB conditional release monitor and his treatment team at WVCW, Eddie began mental health and substance use treatment. He also attended AA classes a few times weekly, due to his continual use of marijuana, which put him at risk of re-admittance to OSH. In March 2018, Eddie fully committed to getting his life back through recovery and began attending AA 7 days a week while continuing services with the center for wellness. He celebrated his one year of sobriety in March 2019 and shared in his joy by presenting his conditional release monitor, a one year coin.
Within a year, he also began leading two of these meetings but felt he was still missing something. He began saving money so he could purchase tools and a vehicle and could return to work. Eddie began working a few odd jobs doing dry walling, something he was very familiar with as in the past he owned his own business doing this type of work. While performing odd jobs, he completed a project for the Bronze Foundry in Joseph and was offered full time employment which he gladly accepted, continuing to work for the foundry today.
His life was coming back together and Eddie desired to get his own place and reconnect with his family. In October 2018, this dream came true and he traveled to Medford to reconnect with Aunts, Uncles, and cousins and had hopes of seeing his daughter and granddaughter, but was unable to at that time. Sadly, unfortunate circumstances brought this dream to fruition with the sudden loss of his ex-wife who was the mother to his children. Just last week, Eddie again traveled to Medford to support his daughter and granddaughter in memorializing a woman they all loved dearly. This reunion, although sad is just the beginning of Eddie’s dream in reconnecting with daughter and watching his granddaughter grow.
Today, Eddie lives in his own apartment in Enterprise managed by the center for wellness and still under the care and supports of the Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) team AND has begun a disc jockey business. He provided music and a light show for a recent dance held at the Odd Fellows Hall for the AA group and hopes to continue holding family-friendly dances at this location monthly.
Eddie enjoys his sobriety, his new lease on life, his job, and most importantly his family and whenever he is praised for his successes, he always responds “Meeting Makers Make It.” Pictured are his daughter and granddaughter when they were reunited.
Eddie, we are so proud of your commitment and determination to live your best life! You are a true inspiration and role model to so many people, whose lives you have touched. “Just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into water, the actions of individuals can have far-reaching effects”-Dalai Lama