East Tennessee addict rediscovers himself in sobriety
A picture illustrated two men in their 30s, with the same tattoos, who share the exact same name—but both are very different people.
"I'm not even sure if I know who that person is," Brian Crabtree said.
Crabtree looked at two different versions of himself in the picture. The man on the left is a person he said didn't stand a chance.
"The guy on the left side is hopeless, suicidal thoughts, just completely strung out, selfish, everything was just about me," Crabtree said.
For 20 years, Crabtree told Local 8 News he pumped poison into his body.
"In the end, it reached a point of, 'How can I kill myself, but I'm such a coward I can't do it,'" Crabtree said.
Crabtree started getting high when he was 13.
"By time I turned 15, I had found out what opioids were, along with some Benzos," said Crabtree. "By 18, I had sampled it all."
The older he got, the stronger Crabtree craved.
"I mean, it moved in and out of Suboxone, which I was just as addicted to as any other opioid, and from there, it moved on to meth," Crabtree said. "It moved on to Oxycodone and then to Opanas and the end result was heroin."
Manipulation fed Crabtree's addictions.
"I was just conning people, robbing people, kicking doors in," Crabtree said. "Looking at prison time was not enough to stop me."
Crabtree said his third overdose was enough.
"I ended up waking up in the bathroom floor with people around me talking about just putting me in the back of a car and putting me out on the street," Crabtree said. "I don't want to be that person anymore."
That thought dangled over Crabtree's head, as he makes peace with his past. He actively worked on his sobriety with support groups and something greater than himself.
"Through having a relationship with a higher power, I can get better and stay better," Crabtree said.
The same paper Crabtree held, gazing at who he was and is becoming, are the same images he posted to Facebook, with hopes of making a difference.
"I believe that my story has a lot of power," Crabtree said. "I believe there's a whole lot hope that can come form it."
Hope doesn't discriminate. Crabtree said the newer version of himself is living proof.
"No matter how hopeless it feels, there's hope to be had," Crabtree said.