Kerry’s Story

Everyone faces a degree of difficulty in their life. Per individual, these difficulties come in every size, shape, and severity. For my childhood friend Kerry, the sizes were measured in milligrams and ounces. The shapes were that of pills, bottles, pipes and syringes. The severity of these ‘difficulties’ cost him friendships, relationships, jail-time, court fees, lawyer fees and nearly his life.

Kerry Kaminski, Grand Junction, Colorado 2011“Drugs and drinking were the only things I was better at than anyone else.”

Kerry began using controlled substances in his midteens. Alcohol and marijuana segued into other drugs such as prescription pain pills. By his late teens, he had already had numerous run-ins with the justice system. By his early twenties his life was an array of court dates, failed re-hab visits, and jail-time. When he contracted Hepatitis C from a shared spoon while using Heroin, the reality of his situation began to unveil itself to him. The viral infection was able to be beaten with radiation therapy and a tattoo reading “NMH” appeared on Kerry’s forearm, an acronym for No More Heroin. Many of Kerry’s friends and family believed this incident to be the final push that Kerry needed to begin living a clean life.

Kerry Kaminski, Grand Junction, Colorado 2011“The biggest challenges were finding out who I really was.”

It wasn’t until 2009 that Kerry’s life took the much needed step toward recovery. He enrolled in a program in Grand Junction Colorado on February 25th, 2009. He has remained sober since. “I found something greater than myself and started accepting it.” A Counselor named Andrea was to be Kerry’s biggest help on his path to recovery. “I had a counselor named Andrea in treatment that wasn’t afraid to call me out on my own shit.  She didn’t care if it hurt my feelings, but if it was going to help me in the long run, she would make me explore it.  I went through a lot of emotional pain but I came out of the experience with much more self awareness and an idea of who I really am.  These days I stay in direct contact with other recovering addicts as much as possible.”

Kerry Kaminski, Grand Junction, Colorado 2011“It’s that herd instinct, you stay on the outside, on the fringes, you get picked off.”

Since leaving rehab, Kerry has held down jobs and become a beacon for others who face the turmoils of addiction. “I’m thankful that today I don’t have the constant insistant urge to get high & I’m looking forward to finding out what I really want to do with my life.  I just quit a dead end job that I stuck with for way too long just because it was familiar & comfortable.” The road to recovery has allowed a restructuring of the damaged relationships his addictions had manifested. Kerry continues to live in Grand Junction, Colorado and lives a much healthier and positive life.

Editor’s Note: My and Kerry’s friendship began Nearly 20 years ago in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. We have remained close friends even as we moved to different towns. For a time it became difficult to understand my friend as our interests changed throughout our teenage years. But every year I could count on a birthday call from Kerry, a testament to his friendship. Three years ago I received an early morning phone call from Kerry. We had not talked for some time, I found this call to be a bit out of character, but when I probed into why he was calling he was informing me of his 6 months of sobriety. I didn’t think much of the achievement until I tried to remember the last time I had seen him sober. To my sorrow it was sometime in the middle of high school. Three years later and the guy is going strong. To some people this feat may not sound impressive, but it doesn’t need to. What is important is Kerry’s will to adhere to his own set of morales, and that makes me a proud friend.

Happy belated birthday to you brother!

-Ryan Loughridge


~ by Ryan Loughridge on 2011/07/12.

5 Responses to “Kerry’s Story”

  1. This is a profound story! Thanks for sharing this with us – congrats both Ryan and Kerry! You make us proud.

  2. I have a boyfriend who has been sober since Nov. 9, 2010 and I know how difficult the road has been. So proud of Kerry and I wish him all the best. Keep fighting for what you believe in!

    Susie Ritter

  3. I have been friends with his parents for 30 some years and have seen him grow up. His journey was a test for everyone and thank God it is now a much more peaceful journey for all. Kerry has been thru hell and back and so many could not be more proud of anyone !! Keep up the GREAT work and be happy!

  4. Great story and photos ! It takes much courage to do what
    Kerry has done and will continue to have to do the rest of
    his life. And bravo for friendship!! Way to go!

  5. It’s the love of friends and family like you, that have made Kerry’s journey back from the depths of where he was, to where he is today, even possible. Thank you for being there always.

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