In light of recent celebrity overdoses, one man is trying to prevent that in Kern County.
Steven Travis was an addict, addicted to heroin by fifteen-years-old. He is now clean and is the CEO of the nonprofit organization, Links to Change Recovery Home.
“I was caught heavily in the grip of addiction,” said Travis.
By the age of fifteen, Travis started using heroin and it he was hooked.
“I was the type of addict, I didn’t have to have a reason to get loaded. I got loaded. If the sun rised, I got loaded. Sun set, I got loaded, my dog died, I got loaded,” said Travis.
He says he needed it to get through certain situations in his life.
“I had [overdosed] six times,” said Travis. “I actually died and they brought me back and I was mad about that. In all reality, I was slowly trying to commit suicide.”
And this was a revolving door that landed him in and out of prison for 28 years.
“And at the age of 50-years-old, I made a choice. There had to be a better life then what I was doing,” said Travis.
And when he was released from prison, he gave up drugs. He reunited with his wife, Sheila, a former addict, and built Links to Change.
“We had a little two bedroom house. It was just me and my wife, my dogs,” said Travis. “And I met other addicts that needed a safe environment to live in and I let them move into my house.”
And now it’s Links to Change Recovery Home, home to over 50 men.
“They’re not bad people, they’ve just made bad choices,” said Travis. “Most addicts, even the addicts on the street, have the desire to stop using. They just don’t know how.”
So Steven and Sheila help them everyday. They help the men get a job, GED and even a college degree. They teach them skills on living life like cleaning, cooking and hygiene. They even reunite them with their families.
“By the time they leave here, they’re a changed person,” said Travis. “Because they see the difference, they see the happiness. The joy of moving on and being clean.”
And that joy brings Steven joy. Something he says he never thought he would would have.
“If you told me seven years ago that this is what I would be doing. I would’ve told you, you’re crazy,” said Travis.