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Recovered drug addict lost everything; now sober, he's helping others through the pandemic

September is National Recovery Month. Now, more than ever, resources are important during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CLEVELAND — Nate Holsman, 34, has battled addiction for a long time. The start of it took hold early in high school.

"I hung out with an older crowd. I was in ninth grade and I was hanging out with seniors. I always got along with people a little bit older than me and everybody was already drinking and smoking weed, you know, and dabbling in cocaine and stuff like that. So it was always around me," Holsman said.

He had a son at 19. But then, his demons won.

“I willingly signed over my rights. I was always going to be on drugs, and, you know, how can I be a good father?” Nate told us.

He numbed the pain -- falling deep into a spiral into alcohol and heroin. Even with a good job, the grip of addiction was too tight.

“My habit was so out of control ... thousands and thousands of dollars a week," Nate said.

So, Nate turned to crime -- to pay for the drugs.

“I committed a bunch of robberies....violent, you know, knife-point robberies. It was all over the news," Nate told us.

Nate was sent to prison for three years. When he got out, he had another slip with drugs. It landed him back behind bars for 45 days. He says, that, was his rock bottom.

“I lost three Christmases, three birthdays, all the holidays ... my family just went on without me. They didn't have a choice," Nate said.

But he had a choice ... to get sober. 

Nate has been clean since September 21, 2018. He moved into a sober-living house in Medina and started working with Ohio Guidestone.

He says without Ohio Guidestone, the outcome may have been different.

“I didn't have insurance, I didn't have nothing. And they're like, 'well, you know what, we're just going to help you out,'” Nate remembered.

Counseling, sober coaches and support were life-changing for Nate. But during this pandemic, some folks don't know help is out there.

“In fact, the isolation, job losses and uncertainty, the need is really greater. And our telehealth services allow for us to continue to be there for people and help them stay connected," said Ohio Guidestone Director of Advancement, Jessica Kanelos.

Nate says, it's been hard, but the help is available.

“It's there. It just looks different," Nate told us.

Today, Nate has a great job. He's volunteering to help other addicts, and he's getting married.

“This is amazing. I got my own place. I got a car. I just got engaged to the most beautiful woman in the world. Life's good today," Nate said.

He also dreams of being reunited with his son again. 

“Hopefully one day he comes looking for me, and I will open my door gladly and be whatever he needs me to be," Nate said.

And for those struggling right now, Nate has this message:

“I've been at the bottom...the worst places that anybody could ever be ...and I got out of it. You just have to reach out, tell on yourself, 'Hey, I'm not feeling right today. I want to use today. I need help.' It's there. You just got to ask for it," Nate said.

September is National Recovery Month. To honor it, Ohio Guidestone is campaigning to raise money for their recovery programs through September 18. They teamed up with local company, Blue Technologies, matching dollar for dollar donated that week up to $50,000.

For more information on the campaign, click HERE.

If you're looking for help with addiction, click HERE.

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