August 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day. While it is a day to remember those who have died from substance use disorders and offer comfort without stigma to their families, it is also the eve of Recovery Month. And so we are posting our first story for Recovery Month today, Overdose Awareness Day, because it is a story of overdose, survival, recovery, and hope.

Struggling with the loss of his younger sister and living away from his family, Clayburne accepted the pills someone offered him. That set him on a 21-year journey of addiction, in which he struggled to end his substance use disorder again and again. He moved out of his home, away from his wife and children, and in with his other sister, then eventually moved in with his mom. While living at his mother’s house, he suffered an overdose and would have died if his wife, Emili, had not intervened. Although the paramedics arrived in time to save his life, Clay suffered brain damage and nerve damage, and now, almost a year later, he is still struggling to recover from that. With this second chance at life has come a newfound determination to make the best of it, to be a better husband and father, and to make a full recovery.

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