On the return trip from a Coast Guard rescue mission in the Bering Sea, Patrick Crady misjudged the distance from the MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter to USCG Cutter Rush and jumped 30 feet to the deck. With a broken femur and fractured hip, Patrick was unable to return to duty and received a temporary assignment in Kodiak, Alaska for a year. Like so many others, he was prescribed opiates for pain and his addiction began.
With a cancer-stricken father, Patrick requested an assignment closer to home and landed at the Marine Safety Unit in Cleveland Ohio. He was able to mask his addiction from his family for a time, but after losing his prescription for pain medication, chasing opiates began catching up with him.
After leaving the Coast Guard and deciding to return to school, Patrick says, “life just got bad.” He adds, “I started buying opiates off the street and did a pretty good job of keeping it under wraps and keeping it hidden from my family Over time it takes a toll. Your moral compass gets skewed and you start doing things you wouldn’t normally have done. Before you know it your life spins out of control.”
Patrick’s family supported him through several stints in rehab, and several relapses.“My grandmother stuck by me through thick and thin and she always believed in me. She just passed away four months ago. I love this woman. The smart bet would have been to drop me and she never did.”
“Like everybody I eventually hit rock bottom and my rock bottom consisted of losing everything. I’ve always been very prideful and when you had more when you were 16 than you did when you’re 29 or 30, it hurts.”
“I kept going back to meetings and got a sponsor. I tried the abstinence approach six different times and it didn’t work for me, but I went to a local methadone clinic and that allowed me to go back to work, go back to school, get an apartment, get out of that lifestyle.”
His persistence and the unwavering support of his family paid off. Patrick completed his Master’s Degree and began rebuilding his life.
Patrick, a 1991 St. X graduate, joined St. Vincent de Paul Louisville in November 2018 as a case manager for the VA Program at Ozanam Inn. He knows first-hand exactly what many of our clients are experiencing. “Maybe I can get an opportunity to help some guys not make the same mistakes I made. It’s a rewarding job. It really is. And I love to help people. I love being able to use my experiences, bad and good, to try to keep people from going through some of the pain and suffering that I went through.”
In December 2019, Patrick was promoted to Program Manager at Ozanam Inn Men’s Shelter.
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