At a young age Paul Hook's life got off to a fast start, that quickly spiraled out of control.
Paul Hook, recovering addict, says, "It was instant, I was off and running."
He first tried Marijuana at the age of 10.
Paul Hook says, "Life started going out of control by the time I was 13; I got into a fight with my father, got thrown out of the house."
And he was soon doing all types of drugs which continued through his military service, his marriage and the birth of his three children.
His story highlights the importance of National Recovery Month which aims to increase awareness and understanding of mental health issues and substance abuse.
Chris Harris, Focus, Licensed Professional Counselor says, "The more we can do to spotlight those in recovery what addiction is, the better it is for our community."
According to the Tennessee Medical Association, Tennessee ranks second per capita in the country for prescription drug abuse, and the Volunteer State has the eighth highest drug overdose mortality rate in the U.S.
Gail Gnade, Focus, Clinical Director says, "It's increasing dramatically, yearly the amount of deaths in Tennessee were over a thousand deaths a year."
Paul knew that's where he was headed, but it wasn't until he saw how it was destroying his children that he knew something had to change.
Paul Hook says, "I tried to quit for over a year before one day, crying out for help, going up to the mountain and crying out to God and falling on my face."
It was that day back in August of 1987, Paul says he got clean.
He remarried and started a non profit, Pirate Springs, to help recovering addicts by helping them find employment.
Recovery is an ongoing process, and a lot of those struggling with addiction often relapse; but Paul says, it's important to get help, support, and not give up.
Paul Hood says, "Don't give this disease another second, find a way out; escape."
That's exactly what he did.
Here are some local events taking place for recovering addicts:
-September 18, Sunday, at Chattanooga Market, 11am-4pm – Making recovery more visible, sharing resources, free educational literature
-September 22, Thursday, at Enterprise South Nature Park, 6pm-8pm – Celebration of Recovery, for those in recovery or supporting someone else in recovery; live acoustic music, food and refreshments, spirit hike, sharing resources