CHICAGO (CBS) — You’d never know by looking at him, but Chris Reed is the new face of addiction. He’s clean-cut, fresh-faced, well-dressed, and well-spoken. He grew up in Algonquin and attended Jacobs High School.
“I just thought I was doing what everybody else was doing. We were having fun. That’s what you do. That’s just what high schoolers do. You drink, and you do drugs,” Reed said.
By 17, he was using and selling cocaine.
“I was selling it to support my own habit,” he said.
What started out as a way to come down from his cocaine high became a full blown heroin addiction.
“The first time I tried heroin, it did exactly what I was looking for with all the other drugs and alcohol. The heroin soon was ruling my life at that point,” Reed said.
Now 26, Reed said he’s been to hell and back.
“I was in and out of Cook County Jail. My parents eventually kicked me out. I was homeless for months, couch surfing. I overdosed twice, unintentionally, in one week; so this time I end up in a psych ward, because I couldn’t stay alive for more than a couple of days at a time,” he said.
After two years of addiction, he made a commitment to his parents; he’d get clean and go through the 12-step program.
“I think I was just done fighting. I made that internal decision to give 100% and really try it. I’ve been sober since September 20, 2009. I soon realized I could help other people,” he said.
A full-time job and other friends in recovery would lead him to a warehouse in Crystal Lake.
“I worked for a construction company, and we used to hang out at this warehouse where we used to store machinery. It started out as a weekend thing, then we were there every day. People gradually started making improvements to the place, so we named it,” he said.