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Many Families Battling Addiction

By: Ilyssa Trussel
By: Ilyssa Trussel

Derek Steele is a pastor. He dedicates his life to trying to help others. Fourteen years ago though, he was the one in need of serious help.

"If it was gonna get you high, that's what I wanted," he said.

He was addicted to crack cocaine.

"Eventually the party starts invading your life. You want the party everywhere, and if there's a problem you want the party, and so it becomes a dependency."

A recent USA Today/HBO poll finds one in five adults admit they have an immediate relative battling a drug or alcohol addiction.

"It's a way the person is chemically pretending to feel a way they really don't feel," said addictions counselor Scott McNutt.

He says it's a family disease because one person's addiction affects the family unit as a whole.

"Everyone in the family is pulled into everything from lying to cover up the addiction to doing different types of denial games in their own head about the addiction even being present in the family."

For Steele to realize he needed to turn his life around, it took years in and out of jail, living on the streets, and eventually hitting rock bottom. Today though he's clean, happily married and a proud father of a young son.

He says he may never have gotten the chance to live the great life he has now if he hadn't come clean about his addiction.


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