Local teen makes a difference by sharing his story to help others affected by drug addiction

A local high school student hopes to help others by sharing his mother’s struggle with drug addiction.

“Levi has found his cure,” Paige Barringer said.

She’s Levi Smith’s mother and she’s struggled with drug addiction all her life.

“I lost my job, my marriage, my family – everything – three months apart,” Barringer said.

This was when things got worse, and Smith didn’t know what to do.

“Watching mom go through rehab and jail, I felt like I was alone,” Smith said. “My anger kept mounting and I didn’t know. I felt worthless. I felt like this was my new life. I didn’t think there was a way to fix anything. it would be.”

But, Barringer knew she wanted to get better.

“As a single mom, I wanted to prove to my boys that they deserved a life like everyone else,” Barringer said with tears in his eyes.

Smith stood by her side as she recovered.

“Levi came and could see that there were other women and moms like me and that there were other children who loved their mom like him and that it was good to love me always”, Barringer said.

However, she knew that Smith was still in trouble.

“It wasn’t so much about the drugs or the alcohol. It was about that injury,” Barringer explained.

It was then that Smith decided to start sharing his story.

“I could either take the road and put a mask on my face and not tell my story, or I could talk about it,” he said.

He didn’t realize how many people were going through the same thing. Soon people would come to him to tell him that their parent was also struggling with addiction.

He said their stories motivated him to help others. In 2019, he started making a difference from my story to yours. Basically, it allows people to share how they have been affected by the addiction, in the hope of helping another person recover.

It’s for people like Alex Brooks, whose mom and dad were both struggling with addictions. Brooks said it wasn’t until his father died that his mother decided to change.

“It was sadly the shock she needed to get into this program and hit the cornerstone to become a better person,” said Brooks.

He said getting a phone call from Smith to talk about his parents’ addiction was a blessing.

“It makes you feel like you’re not alone because when you’re in such a deep, dark place you kind of feel lonely,” Brooks said. “You don’t feel like anyone understands this. How can I talk about it? It’s kind of like putting things in a vacuum when you want someone who understands. “

Smith and his mom both know there are more people like Alex who need help. They hope to become a voice for those affected.

“I have to share, because I have to give back what has been so freely given to me,” Barringer said. “We need a village.

Smith is working with community leaders to further share his story with addicts. He has spoken with the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department to speak to inmates, but the pandemic has put that plan on hold.

Nonetheless, he hopes his organization will grow into a place to connect them to resources to help them recover.

“It really makes me feel like I’ve done something out of that and through the hurt and everything. Through the storm there’s still the sun. It gives me peace of mind from the hurt and past, and it finally makes me feel good. There is a future to that. I can do a good thing with it to help others make them feel like their past has not touched them, “he said. he declares.

Smith said he wanted to study to be a counselor when he grew up.

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