This young man is Nicholas Willard. Nick died of a heroin overdose on Christmas Day 2018. Nick battled with his addiction for almost six years. He went through many rehab facilities, detox centers, and intensive outpatient treatments only to eventually come home and fall back into the cycle of addiction. Nick’s story might seem like so many others that come to a tragic end. However, Nick did completely beat his addiction the last 9 months of his life. He was living happily for once in a very long time. He was working, enjoying social activities, and gaining back some self-esteem and self-respect. He even spoke of plans for his future, which included helping others overcome the disease of addiction.
Nick’s hope for life as a sober man began after he joined a sober living community in a new city nearly 700 miles away from where his drug use started. This new environment gave him a new outlook, and he realized he really had a chance to do it over with a fresh start. Nick worked the 12-step program and met a new family of friends that he loved. In the time period immediately before he died, Nick was happier than he had been in a long time.
On his visit home for Christmas in 2018, Nick made his final decision. A decision that took his life, and that took him from a family that he loved and that loved him very much. We will forever miss Nick. Nick will never be defined by his addiction but by his humanity, his good heart, and his love for others. We fight this battle against addiction in Nick’s name and seek to provide hope, help, and solutions to those addicted.