"When you've finally been listened to, that's when you become real to the world, that's when you grow."
- James, Brave Faces Portrait Gallery


Christopher Brick

Christopher Brick - Brave Faces Portrait Gallery

“I’ve been here in Redding since 2001. I’ve fallen in love with the mountains, rivers, and lakes, as well as the geo-thermal activity unique to this area such as Lassen Park. I’ve struggled with severe depression accompanied with alcoholism and addiction since I was a young teenager.

I never knew my biological father, and my mother married my first stepfather when I was 4 years-old. Their relationship had many hardships including daily screaming and yelling matches. I lost my mother rather abruptly at the age of 16. By then, I had been drinking for two years, and for a year I was drinking daily. To deal with my mother’s death, my second stepfather and I drank ourselves into oblivion the night she passed. I was already a habitual blackout drinker. This would set a pattern for years to come."

 

Chris rides his bicycle through Redding

"After my mother's death, I felt all alone and dealt with this feeling through further isolation and use of alcohol and now drugs. I felt abandoned and unlovable on the inside; however, I fancied myself as strong and independent on the outside.  I was hospitalized for suicidal ideation at the age of 21. After a week-long stay in a mental health ward I was released and I started counseling.”


Chris poses with a bull dozer.

"After about six weeks the therapist was doing an intense role playing exercise with me. We were re-enacting the last fight my mother had with my first step-father. I was 10 years old at the time, and he beat her up pretty bad. I attempted to help her the best I could, but was thrown out of the way. As an adult reliving this I was truly brought back to that night and almost struck that counselor down with a chair. At the very last moment, I snapped back to reality. This frightened me so much I didn’t attend therapy for many years after that session.
 

I returned to what I knew to cope with my problems and depression, alcohol and drugs. I understood I had little control over my using once I started, but did not realize that my addiction was a disease."

Listen to Chris explain how fear of losing his firearm affected his mental health treatment.


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"My disease would end up costing me a marriage.  I continued to attempt to hold down jobs and simply live as a functioning alcoholic addict. Things would take a horrible turn for the worse after a motorcycle accident almost took my left foot, a direct result of my disease. This would put me out of work for several years. Through this period, I would end up homeless, camping on the Sacramento River. I would attempt suicide by overdose on the river. I would progress to using heroin and methamphetamine, as well as alcohol and marijuana."

Listen to Chris discuss how he became addicted to prescription painkillers after his accident.


Chris Outside the Bridge to Life building

"My life was absolutely out of control, and I believed I was destined to die by overdose. I had attempted sobriety several times in the past but always relapsed. I did not think recovery was a real possibility for me. Part of me was scared that I had damaged my brain beyond the point of recovery. Every time I attempted sobriety in the past my depression would overwhelm me, causing me to self-medicate with alcohol and drugs."


Chris poses by a crucifix

"At the end of my rope and in a very desperate place, I cried out to Jesus pleading for help. This would bring me to the pivotal point in my life. God, through that small still voice in my head, told me to go to the Good News Rescue Mission to seek help. Full of too many fears to list, I decided to put my trust in God and go. I was accepted into the Men’s New Life Recovery Program in the spring of 2015, and my life would never be the same. 

There I would learn how to cope and function as an adult, free from the bondage of drugs and alcohol. For the first time in my life I truly got a handle on my depression. I would be accepted into a brotherhood that would love me until I learned how to love myself."


 

Chris on the cypress bridge.

"I would be taught through faith-based classes, mentored and counseled, as well as introduced to 12-step recovery programs within the community. I learned to be healthy, loving and productive. I learned to be part of something much larger than myself.

Thanks to God, I have been clean and sober since March 2015. I am currently living in my own apartment, a healthy member of society, with new and exciting goals for the future."


Chris hangs from a bulldozer

"I’m attending classes at Shasta College through the highly successful Step-Up program. In Step-Up, students set obtainable education goals geared towards job placement in the community.

I am also blessed to be a Brave Faces speaker, helping others to understand mental health challenges as well as addiction issues. To God be the glory!"

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