Taking Stock of His Life
By all appearances, Ryan Skinner was a clean cut, highly successful financial planner. Not many in his life knew his insidious secret, which was that he could easily spend countless dollars a day feeding his addiction to heroin.
It didn’t start that way, rather, it began more innocently, through a drinking habit in his youth that was intended to mask his sense of low self-esteem and to help him become what he terms, “surface social.”
He claims, “I wasn’t supposed to become an addict.” There were no markers that could have predicted it, according to Skinner. He viewed himself as a functioning alcoholic whose intake increased as his income did. In his 20’s, hand surgery led to a Percoset addiction. Later on, other drugs took him on a downward spiral.
What he makes abundantly clear is that for him, “Drugs weren’t a problem. They were a solution.”
He says that everything looked faster and moved faster in his life. It was when the speed got out of control, that he turned for help, since his “soul was dying inside.”
Jail time, probation, a spiritual epiphany and making an agreement with the God of his understanding, as well as being taken under the wing of a 12 step sponsor assisted him in entering and sustaining recovery.
Not only does he join the group who say that they are ‘grateful recovering addicts,’ but pays it forward via Ryan’s Fund which raises money to assist children of drug addicts who have died. Simple things that most take for granted, like new socks, are some of what they purchase for these youngsters.
In addition, it supports veterans and homeless individuals. He speaks to groups in prisons as well, offering encouragement and a light in the despair and darkness of addiction.
Hearing Skinner’s story gives this clinician hope that recovery is possible and that from the ashes can rise the Phoenix.