SYRACUSE — Feb. 26 is an important day for Dru Hicks.
This year’s occurrence of the date will mark three years of sobriety for the Kosciusko County native who now serves as national outreach coordinator for Boca Recovery Center in Boca Raton, Fla.
Hicks spoke Monday, Feb. 11, at the weekly Celebrate Recovery meeting held at Wawasee Heights Baptist in Syracuse.
The program, dubbed “Celebrate Recovery at The Heights” on its Facebook page, begins with a 6 p.m. supper supplied by the church, followed by a meeting in the sanctuary at 6:30 p.m. The public is invited to the free meetings.
The church is located at 504 S. Syracuse-Webster Road, Syracuse. For more information, call the church at (574) 457-4107 or leave a private message on the Facebook page.
Hicks slipped into a quarter century of severe addiction at age 15. “I started with marijuana and alcohol,” said the 45-year-old. “I knew early on I was looking for something stronger, but marijuana and alcohol were the first to present themselves to me. I started cocaine at the age of 17 and was an IV drug user for 22 years.”
His addiction cost him “everything,” he said, including his family, especially his two daughters, of whom he now enjoys full custody. Hicks spent 14 1/2 years in a penitentiary on drug charges.
“I had no other choice but to get clean or die,” he said. “I chose to try sobriety.”
Hicks said he, like 90 percent of addicts, slid into drug use to “mask the pain” of abuse.
“I was adopted,” he said, “and I went through a lot of trauma.” He was molested from age 8 to 10 and “I never really dealt with it. I didn’t want to feel the pain, so I started to get high. It made me feel good. I didn’t have to think or feel anything.”
Hicks endured his last overdose in 2015. In a Fort Wayne hospital, he was “literally dead for four minutes.”
“When I was out I remember hearing someone or something whisper, ‘Get up. I am not done with you.’ I know God saved my life that day,” he said.
“I was healed from the abuse,” he added. “I am no longer the victim. It has no control over me. Being a man, it was a hard pill to swallow being molested, so I said that didn’t happen to me. But I had to own it, and I went from victim to victor.
“God is a huge factor in my life,” said Hicks, who was raised in the church but “put him on the back burner.”
“He is a lot of the reason I am here today, and I think that is why he uses me as a voice.” Hicks speaks around the country, encouraging addicts to check into the Boca Recovery Center, a private insurance only facility, but “we will help anybody, not matter what their financial situation is,” he said.
Hicks emphasized, “it is not the drugs that kill us, it is the lie from the very beginning. Drugs are just a way to keep that lie happening. But no one is alone in this fight,” he said.
For more information, or to contact Hicks, call (574) 354-1447, visit www.facebook.com/druhicks226 or email [email protected]