One man's quest to kick drugs underscores addiction's toll

Man who spent 27-years addicted to drugs now clean and housed thanks to IHS

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - For the first time in his life, Brian Kilby has a routine.

"I usually get up about 5:15 in the morning. I get to work about a half hour early. I work eight to 10 hours. Then I go to the gym," Kilby said.

The 43-year-old works full-time delivering medical supplies.

"A lot of the time I didn't think I would get a good job anymore. For years, I took and lived a very selfish and indulgent life," Kilby said.

Among the thousands of Hawaii residents struggling with addiction, homelessness and run-ins with the law, Kilby is a rare success story. But he has hardly emerged from his years of drug abuse unscathed. He needs support, and works every day to stay clean.

He started experimenting with alcohol and drugs in his early teens, and by the time he was 20, was using every day and teetering on the verge of homelessness.

"I had lived on people's couches and been close to it several occasions. I was never completely homeless until I stared using crack cocaine. I was paid on Friday broke on Saturday. I mean it was sick what those drugs do to you," Kilby said.

After several stints in jail and rehab he moved to Hawaii in hopes of staying clean.

"I had saved money. I had a job already. I had a place to stay so I had set myself up to do well," he said.

But with no support system he fell back into old habits and got hooked on meth. He quickly lost his job and his place to stay.

"Paranoia was extreme. I was slowly losing my mind," he said.

Kilby says it was in Aala Park where he finally hit rock bottom. What little he had left was stolen.

"I walked around until I had blood blisters on the bottoms of my feet. Just no where to go. No purpose," he said.

In the midst of a drug-induced blackout, he got in trouble and ended up in OCCC.  A judge allowed him back into rehab. But when he was finished, he made the choice to do something different.

"Without having the means to really move in somewhere, I chose IHS," said Kilby.

During his six month stay at the homeless shelter, he continued his drug treatment, got health insurance, a food stamp card and a job.

Eventually, he moved into a place of his own.

"Having that many people in your corner. The support system and just people I could go to if I needed something," said Kilby.

Fourteen months sober, Kilby has continued to successfully hold him self accountable. Next month he'll hit another major milestone in his recovery. "I'm not going to accept any more food stamps or assistance," said Kilby

Kilby says most his life he doubted if he could ever stay clean.

But with the groundwork in place and the team at Institute for Human Services around if he needs them, the future appears bright.

"I don't wallow in the past much. There's nothing back there that I really want. If you continue to do the right thing and stay sober and keep trucking along, doors will open up," Kilby said.

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