He was born in Florida – a drug baby addicted to heroin before his first breath. Orphaned and then adopted, Earl Young was brought to Breathitt County, where he had a normal childhood. He played football and excelled in sports.

Earl joined the U.S. Army after high school. While stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado, in 1995 he was introduced to crystal meth, which wasn’t part of military drug testing. He spent the next 23 years as an IV drug user addicted to crystal meth.

He received an Article 15 for disobeying a direct order but received a general discharge under honorable conditions after refusing to testify against his fellow soldiers.

Earl became homeless and tuned to selling drugs. He was on the needle until 2019. After waking up in jail facing a gun and burglary charges, Earl told his lawyer that he wanted to go to treatment after he got out of jail. He was tired and wanted to be a dad to his two children.

His lawyer connected him with Addiction Recovery Care (ARC). Within a week, Earl wanted to leave. He had even lined up a ride to get him out of there. But first, he attended a church service that had a rock & roll concert. He ended up committing his life to God.

Not only did Earl stay and complete his treatment, he now serves as a chaplain and lead peer support specialist at ARC. He also volunteers with outreach to assist moving clients from the streets to treatment and is back in school to get a degree in social work through a joint program with Big Sandy Community and Technical College and Morehead University.

“There are people out there who understand, care, and want to help you,” Earl said. “We forget that when we’re in active addiction.”