Blake Share Story
From Despairing Addict to Successful Entrepreneur
I snuck my first drink at ten, after seeing how much fun my father seemed to have when he drank. I discovered that alcohol made all my inhibitions disappear. That felt great. I quickly got hooked.
By age 15, I was smoking pot, hanging with the wrong crowd and skipping school. My parents moved to Naples from Illinois to give me a fresh start. But it backfired. I felt intense rage over the move, refused to go to school, and started selling drugs.
But I was in over my head. At 19, I was brought to the Crisis Stabilization Unit at David Lawrence Center after a two-day bender during which I was brutally attacked and robbed by another drug dealer. The beating left me with frontal lobe damage, which I believe caused my addiction and mental health to become exponentially worse.
Over the next ten years, I landed in jail more than twelve times. My relationship with my father was nonexistent and my mother lived in a constant state of anguish and worry about me. Every day started with vodka, as I popped opioid pain pills and fell even deeper into drug-dealing.
Then I had a chance to change my life. I agreed to enter the Collier County Drug Court program, and chose treatment to avoid a six-year prison sentence. But I struggled to get clean. I had a physical allergy to the drugs but would mentally go crazy without them.
I entered David Lawrence Center’s Crossroads addictions recovery program as a condition of staying in Drug Court – and never looked back. I’ve been sober ever since. Crossroads was the turning point for me. They were truly invested in seeing me succeed. They loved me unconditionally until I loved myself.
Once discharged, I started helping in the St. Matthew’s House kitchen and learned about food. In time, I helped launch their catering service. I managed everything from sales and marketing to fundraisers. Then I was given the opportunity to train with local chef, Brian Roland, and I helped him build his successful catering business, Crave Culinaire.
Today, with five years of sobriety under my belt, a clear head and business skills, I’m building my own home maintenance business. I stay sober through my strong faith, remaining engaged in the recovery community, and giving back by fundraising and volunteering for David Lawrence Center. I’ve found tremendous success both personally and professionally, and I believe I owe my life to David Lawrence Center.