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A lot of stories in addiction are sad and heartbreaking.  We read in our newspapers every day about mothers and fathers, sons and daughters dying on our streets every day.  In between these horrible stories there are miraculous stories of people who have found a life in recovery.

That is Christopher Poulos’s story.

Chris is from Portland, Maine and has struggled with the disease of addiction since he was 13.  In his early teens a doctor put him on Ritalin to deal with his ADD and then sleeping pills at night to counteract the effect of the Ritalin.  He says he started abusing those drugs very quickly.  In his later teens he went through three very painful deaths of loved ones and the doctors put him on benzodiazepines (Xanax and Klonopin) and he was drinking a lot.

His mother could not deal with the behaviors that addiction brought and threw Chris out of her house.  Now homeless, drinking, and taking pills, he added cocaine to the mix.  He began selling cocaine to support his own habits.  It didn’t take long for the DEA to catch up to Chris and he was arrested on possession and intent to distribute cocaine.

Soon after that arrest Chris gave up and entered the life of recovery from addiction.  He joined a 12-step group and his life began to change.  Chris’s friend Kevin says this about his story: “When you start turning your life around, the wreckage doesn’t automatically get cleaned up.”   He was talking about the damage Chris did while in active addiction and the price he had to pay in order to make right the wrongs he did in the past.  Chris was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison.  While he was in jail he helped other inmates who were struggling with the same thing he was.

Now out of jail and living sober, he went to law school.  He was told that because of his felony conviction he wouldn’t get licensed by the Maine Bar Association.  The dean of Maine Law School, Peter Pitegoff was trying to help Chris by outlining some options he could pursue with a conviction like he had.  Mr. Pitegoff said that he could see the disappointment in Chris’s eyes after their conversation.  Chris posed this question to him though “Dean, why didn’t the judge give me a life sentence?” he recalled. “Okay, so then why are you giving me one today?”

Chris has gone on to do an internship working in The White House.  He worked in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.  He will graduate this spring from the University of Maine with a law degree.  All of this for someone who was strung out with no hope of a future.

His story cements in the theory that anything is possible if we get sober.  So many people think that their lives of addiction created too much damage for them to go on to accomplish anything worthwhile.  With enough help and willingness anything is possible.  The ingredient needed is surrender and asking for help.


If your life is out of control and you want to give up please call our Laurel Run substance abuse rehab center.  There are thousands of stories like Chris’s that have started here at Clearbrook.  It is stories like these and from our alumni that keep our staff coming to work each day.







Thank you to The Washington Post for the story.  You can read their article HERE

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