Nayt Pingry is a Partner Development Manager at Kyros. He works to create strategic partnerships with other recovery organizations to increase access to care for individuals in recovery. Nayt is a family-oriented man who loves to spend weekends exploring the great outdoors, and fishing out on the many lakes in Minnesota. He is grateful to celebrate over 8 years in recovery, here is his addiction recovery story.
Tell us a bit about your recovery story – how did you begin your recovery?
I think there is a very distinct moment for all of us that experience the horror of addiction, where surrender grips us followed by a moment of clarity. For me, this happened several times in the last days of my active addiction. I’m able to recall one of these moments in which I was sitting in a hotel room with a loaded handgun in my lap. I had been on the run at this point for several months and I just didn’t have anything left. I wanted to end it all. And though the plan I had to end it wasn’t the right kind of surrender necessary for change, it was surrender.
Nayt is grateful to celebrate over 8 years in recovery, here is his addiction recovery story.
I experienced surrender again on the final day of my active addiction when the stolen car I was driving slammed into a big oak tree after sliding out of control around a corner. The several police cars that were in pursuit closed in quickly and I was yanked out of the wreckage. The torment of who I had become and who I knew I was had come to an end. I surrendered to the idea that I was going to prison and to the consequences I had collected. I surrendered to the fact that I no longer had control and to the thoughts that I would never be the father I had always wanted to be.
Through the weight of all of this, that moment of clarity followed and with it an odd sense of peace. It was over. And though I didn’t know it at the time, it was the start of an amazing journey full of restoration, grace, success, and love. The next morning, when I woke up in my bunk in Ramsey County Jail, I started my sobriety journey. That was August 8th, 2015.
What are some obstacles you overcame at the beginning of your recovery journey?
When I was released from jail, it was on a furlough to treatment. I had 13 charges in 6 counties, 9 of which were felony charges. My release was conditional and I had 4 hours to report to the treatment facility. As I dressed in the clothes I had been arrested in, which were covered in blood and dirt, I was so confused and lost. I couldn’t see past the past and I felt completely alone. I walked out of the facility unsure of what to do next. Should I, shouldn’t I. Where? What? How? I knew I only had one place to go – treatment. That was the first good choice I had made in a long time.
My release was conditional and I had 4 hours to report to the treatment facility.
I remember feeling gross in the clothes I was wearing, feeling scared while looking out the window of the bus and realizing suddenly I knew where I was. How close to an old friend of mine’s place I was. I don’t even remember making the decision to get off the bus and walk the 2 blocks to my “friend’s” house. Overwhelmed with the lust of catching one more buzz before I got myself into treatment, I walked quickly.
As I neared the apartment building I was headed to, two people I knew were coming out of the doors. They looked rough with sunken desperate eyes, moving slow and uncoordinated. I remember wondering if they’d always looked like that, and was struck by the thought that I had appeared like that. I looked at myself in the reflection of a car window parked on the street. Compared to the black and white photo on my jail wristband, I realized that I was starting to look healthy again.
And what lessons did you take from these obstacles?
I understand now that what happened in the next few moments was a Higher Power intervening on my behalf. It was suddenly clear to me where I needed to be, so I turned around and walked in the other direction. For the second time that day I had made the right choice. Those ten blocks I walked to treatment were the longest ten blocks of my life. I remember arguing with myself, even stopping a few times to just stand on the sidewalk in the rain.
I don’t know what I expected when I walked into NuWay, but the right choices from that morning forward became easier and easier to make. The most successful perception change for me was realizing how to turn obstacles into opportunities. Finding opportunities to grow, learn, develop healthy patterns, make better choices, and find gratitude in places that are painful and difficult to face.
What do you think are the biggest challenges that people in recovery face?
The definition of “challenge” is: an objection or query as to the truth of something, often with an implicit demand for proof.
It’s really interesting to me that the focus of my recovery has been specifically focused on identifying truth. Without truth, the word challenge doesn’t exist. I never stop with objection and query within myself, because without it I would never identify the truth. The absolute hardest part of recovery for me has been, and sometimes continues to be, identifying the truth within myself.
How has your life changed throughout your recovery?
I remember the last run in jail that I experienced, feeling so broken and alone. Laying on my bunk for hours, I would play heartbreaking scenarios in my head with visions of a life that I had sacrificed to chase my addiction. In these scenarios, I watched my kids grow up without me. Ultimately, I saw the abandonment and trauma of my choices ultimately contributing to the root of their own path in addiction.
The list of accomplishments, restoration, grace, and love that I have experienced in my recovery fills me up to the brim.
I remember one night, through sobbing tears, I fell to my knees and I prayed. I prayed so hard for an opportunity to be something different than I was, and for all the immediate circumstances I was in to be resolved so that I could have a chance. It’s funny how God works. If I would have received everything I had prayed for in that moment, I would have sold myself short an infinite amount of times. Today my life is beyond anything I could have asked for or expected. The list of accomplishments, restoration, grace, and love that I have experienced in my recovery fills me up to the brim. Every scenario I played out heartbroken, laying in my cell, I have victory over today.
What does success in recovery look like to you?
Success has been measured pretty easily for me. I have a daily checklist that I run myself through:
- Am I a better version of myself than I was yesterday?
- Did I serve the community and/or help someone with my heart today
- Just for today, did I refrain from slipping back into unhealthy patterns or use?
- Did I wake up and identify gratitude and pray to operate with humility
- Did I reach out to my mentors, therapist, and/or sponsor and tell on myself when I slip back into ego, pride, and my many other character defects?
Recovery and sobriety isn’t a solution within itself. It’s a pathway that continues throughout my life that helps me build a relationship with myself. What recovery does is gives me a perception and strength to navigate it in healthy ways.
That’s success. Just for today…
Is there anything you wish you could share with anyone who is at the beginning of their recovery journey – or at any point in their recovery?
No matter your circumstance or situation, there are people in this community that have been there. You are not alone. Our mess turns into a message, it just takes time. Mess + age = message. Use your message to help others. Serve like your life depends on it. You can’t serve others while you are stuck inside yourself. You are the sum of the 5 people you surround yourself with. Find healthy people and surround yourself with them.
Interested in reading more about addiction and substance use disorder recovery? Check out the other recovery stories we have on our blog.