‘A whole new life’: Local people share their addiction recovery stories

Amber Hartman Ortez talks about past life of drug addiction, sex trafficking and abusive relationships during an interview at the Safe Harbor House in Springfield. She’s now more than four and a half years clean. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

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Amber Hartman Ortez talks about past life of drug addiction, sex trafficking and abusive relationships during an interview at the Safe Harbor House in Springfield. She’s now more than four and a half years clean. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

From a mother of two who overcame a decade of being sex trafficked, to a young man just out of jail for what he hopes will be the last time, local people who have come out the other side of the opioid epidemic are telling their stories.

No two recovery stories are exactly alike, but for each of the people interviewed here substance abuse was a symptom of larger issues of trauma, isolation and loss. Although at various stages of recovery, each expressed a desire to help others find their way out of addiction hell. And that includes sharing their story publicly.

It used to be very rare to see someone step in front of their church congregation or civic organization — let alone television cameras — and tell their story of addiction and recovery, said Greg Delaney, a pastor and outreach coordinator for Woodhaven Recovery in Dayton.

But this month he shared his story of long-term recovery at the White House.

“The climate has changed,” he said. “The narrative has changed.”

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