Steve Brown is currently the Clinical Director and Executive Director of an addiction recovery center, bringing with him personal experiences that helped him create a center that now is helping others. Steve began experimenting with alcohol at age twelve or thirteen, was drinking heavily by fifteen, and was a daily user by sixteen years old. At this time he also began to smoke marijuana and experiment with psychedelic drugs. This behavior progressed into his early twenties and he first sought treatment at the age of twenty-one, spending four months in in-patient care and then a halfway house.
For the next four to five years, Steve was in and out of recovery, attended a number of rehabilitation centers, halfway houses, detox centers, and even some psych wards when things got bad. His twenties were characterized by periods of abstinence and recovery, followed by relapse, each time getting progressively worse.
From his mid-twenties to his early thirties, Steve found sobriety, but again relapsed and worsened. During this time he says he lost much in the ways of physical, emotional, spiritual, relationship, and financial consequences. He entered treatment programs again in his mid-thirties and at thirty-five finally found sobriety for the last time. That was in 1996 and he has been sober ever since.
Hitting Rock Bottom, Again
For Steve, rock bottom occurred over and over again as he experienced periods of recovery followed by relapse. There is a saying in recovery that says “bottom is when you decide to put the shovel down and stop digging” and Steve had thought he had found that bottom many times. Often, relapses developed due to growing pains in recovery, as once he was sober, he faced emotions he could not handle yet.
A large part of his progressive recovery has been dealing not only with the addictions, but with underlying issues, such as severe anxiety disorder, trauma, and abuse issues. Relapse occurred when he would use substances to deal with these negative emotions.
Right before the last time Steve became sober, he was heavily into alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, and crack cocaine abuse and dependence, opiate abuse, and heroin dependency.
The last two years he was using, he was a daily pot smoker, depressed, isolated, was barely holding on to his job, and experienced self-loathing. He recalls setting his alarm two hours early so he could get high before work and then wasting away when he got home.
He was addicted, dependent, and degenerating and deteriorating mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Steve reached a point where he was so miserable, depressed, alone and feeling hopeless. He was “sick and tired of being sick and tired”.
I’m Going To Quit Tomorrow
After a series of “I’m going to quit tomorrow”s and each time falling short, thus creating self-loathing and self-condemnation, he woke up and realized the time would never be right and he would never not feel like using. He was never going to be ready, but what he did know was that if he continued to use, things were only going to keep getting worse and he knew he didn’t want to continue suffering, being miserable, and settle for so much less than what he could have. Steve still had a glimmer of hope that things could be better.
So he decided he’d had enough and would start to make changes now. He did that each day, one day at a time, and the days started adding up. He immersed himself in recovery, went to meetings, got all the help he could get, and focused not just on abstinence, but on a deeper recovery experience. As each day added up, Steve experienced more confidence. Over time the substances lost their hold on him. He felt his cravings, obsessions, and compulsions to use start to fade away.
Putting His Addiction Experiences To Work
After sobering up in 1996, he decided to pursue a degree in counseling. Steve’s brother, HR Brown, sobered up a year after him and a few years later took the initiative to start a recovery center. They partnered up, starting a men’s residential treatment program in Utah. He then branched off, starting a faith and evidence based addiction recovery program and has since expanded to Arizona, where he opened an intensive outpatient center.
Though Steve may be the owner, he has been a client of such centers himself and his own experiences through treatment centers and daily life in recovery have helped to shape and influence the centers’ philosophy and mission statement.
Steve’s programs seek to help those who come to them to find and identify their motivations for becoming sober and to develop honesty with themselves. It is when people can be in a safe environment, being honest with themselves, they can deal with the byproducts of addiction: feelings of guilt, shame, self-loathing, worthlessness, and the inability to be loved. Steve enjoys working in recovery because he likes to help people lower their defenses enough to allow truth and light to entire their lives again. As they do so, they are able to see their own self worth, regain hope, and get on a path to recovery.
Steve believes it is important for each person to discover their own recovery, as they use trusted processes that have been proven to work. As they do so, he sees a light come back into their eyes, their lives improve, and their family member’s lives improve as a result of staying true and sticking to their recovery program.
Struggling With Your Recovery? Steve Says Ask For This
For those who have yet to seek treatment, Steve promises this: it will get better if you ask for help and it will get worse if you don’t. Most people cannot overcome this on their own and it is ok to seek help. As someone who has seen how addiction destroys lives over many years, he has also seen how recovery helps people to overcome addiction, to heal, and ultimately to experience freedom and joy they cannot yet comprehend.
If you know of someone that is struggling with their recovery please share Steve’s story with them. His story and advice may be exactly what they need to hear.
It’s also National Recovery Month which is an even better reason to share all the positive recovery stories you can get your hands on!
To hear Steve tell his story – Click the video below.