Through years of being in and out of jail, dealing drugs, becoming a grateful and proud father—even overcoming death twice—Kody still couldn’t manage to conquer his demon of addiction. By the time he was fourteen years old, Kody had already become a three-time felon due to his drug addiction and related lifestyle. It wasn’t until his last stint in jail and entering Dakoske Hall, or the ATS men’s residential treatment center, that he began the journey that would effectively, spiritually and physically, set his soul free.

From a very early age, Kody lived a lifestyle that involved supplying drugs to others. It was a way to become financially stable that seemed reasonable to him. This mental distortion of what he considered normal landed him in and out of jail for distribution, which in the end transformed him into an addict as well. This path hindered him from completing high school and being a stable and reliable partner to his significant other, and it eventually repressed his ability to be a responsible and loving father. Kody freely admits today that even the birth of his children couldn’t help him stay sober. He remarked, “Sure, I stayed sober for a little while, but eventually I would return to my old habits for money and for a release from myself. I didn’t like who I was, so I needed to keep that mask on!”

Kody’s realization that sobriety was the only way forward came only when he landed in jail one final time. Just after this last incarceration, a spiritual event placed him on a mountaintop in West Virginia, where he tossed the last of his drugs over the cliff. This action signified that he was truly ready for freedom.

Upon returning to Traverse City to face the consequences of his actions, he entered Dakoske Hall, where his true recovery journey began. Kody stated quite eloquently and frankly that the staff at the residential facility changed his life. One staff member in particular stood out. He also felt that the spiritual classes offered there allowed him to recognize that the deep-seated negative image he had of himself was false and that he could be a different man. Kody’s self-image was always centered on projecting fear. He shared, “To be feared is what I always wanted [...] It allowed me to keep my distance from others, for I had trust issues. That action of projecting fear forced me to use drugs to feel calm, to trust others, to have peace.”

Upon leaving the thirty-day treatment program at Dakoske Hall, Kody embraced all that ATS had to offer by becoming a resident in one of their transitional/recovery homes and enrolling in the MRT program. Kody felt safe in the sober environment of the transitional home, and his MRT classes taught him how to manage emotions and set goals for his life in sobriety. Kody learned that when he gave respect and trusted others, they garnered him the same in return. He acknowledged that giving unconditionally to his family, being reliable and stable, set those around him free, which made his life more manageable and rewarding. Today, Kody no longer wears that mask of fear to project the image of a drug dealer. He is now a competent individual, a loving father and a family man. He is a contributor to society! He is a man who rises every morning and sees the beauty in every aspect of life—a man truly free from the shackles of his past and of himself.