My name is Delton Russell and I am a person in long-term recovery. What that means for me is that I have not used
alcohol or other drugs since March 24, 1996.

Being in recovery has afforded me many opportunities, such as developing a relationship with my mom. It feels awesome to have a mom now. It also has allowed me the opportunity to forgive my father, which is good because he passed 13 years ago, and recovery has taught me that holding onto anger, bitterness and resentment only serves to hurt me as resistance creates suffering. I now understand and accept that my father did what he did not because he was a bad person, but because of his trauma and life experiences.

Being in recovery has allowed me the opportunity to have not just a stable job, but a career – and not just a career, but a career that adds value to my life through being able to be the change I want to see in my community.
Recovery has given me the opportunity to do things that, when I was growing up, I thought were for other people
– like owning a reliable vehicle and buying a home with my credit and my down payment. I did not need to
manipulate anyone to meet my needs; I was able to meet them on my own.

Most importantly, though, being in recovery has afforded me the ability to develop meaningful relationships by teaching me to be emotionally vulnerable. Having grown up in an environment where I was taught that vulnerability
equals weakness, I naturally was not comfortable with my feelings and definitely wasn’t comfortable sharing them
with others. But now I view vulnerability as the ultimate strength. It’s easy to turn off and become hardened,
but it takes considerable strength to express emotions while maintaining healthy boundaries and not becoming
crippled by the fear of what others may say or think.

Above all, I am grateful that recovery has allowed me to heal enough that I can now share my story with others to show them that recovery is real because It does not matter who I used to be, it only matters that I have been set  free.