Chris Mills drank a lot and experimented with drugs – weed and speed – while growing up.
He served in the U.S. Marine Corps – enlisting during the Gulf War in 1991. While Chris was serving in the Marines, he was married and had a son. The drug experimentation continued.
He divorced, and in 1998 was involved in a motorcycle accident that caused him to lose the use of his right arm and left him in tremendous pain. Chris became addicted to OxyContin. The pain clinic pushed pills on him and, eventually, taking pills wasn’t about the pain anymore. It was about the addiction.
He was off work for a year – learning to walk again and to write with his left hand. And taking more pills.
He returned to work and was remarried.
But his addiction turned to smoking meth. His new wife didn’t realize Chris was living a double life until it was too late. He became so addicted that he couldn’t hide it anymore. He lost weight and stopped going to work. A year later he was fired from his job. Then his wife left.
In 2004, he attempted suicide with the pills he had become addicted to. He wrote a suicide note, and the next thing he remembered was waking up in a psychiatric hospital in Corbin, KY.
But his darkest moments were yet to come. Chris says the next four years were hell. The addiction continued. He lost contact with his son. One of his friends shot himself. Another was being investigated by the feds. Chris was in and out of jail. In and out of the courtroom.
Then, two life-changing things happened. Kentucky State Police Officer Steve Walker stopped him and had a talk with him. And, a friend who used to buy drugs from him came to his house. He saw something different in her. She was clean and told Chris that he would die if he didn’t get help.
She took Chris to a 12-step program, and he knew that was where he needed to be. He started seeing God working in his life. On May 26, 2007, at the age of 34, he got clean. On July 7, 2007, he turned his life over to God.
Chris was able to get the disability payments that he had previously been unable to receive. He started volunteering at a treatment facility. At age 39, he went to college and graduated with honors from Lindsey Wilson.
After that, Chris was able to get off disability and worked at a treatment center for a couple of years. He was then hired as a therapist at Stepworks in London, KY, in 2019.
Chris calls his friend every year to thank her for getting him into the 12-step program. He also is thankful for Judge John Chappell in London, who helped Chris get his record expunged and works through the Drug Court to help other people in recovery.
While in long-term recovery, Chris got married again. He has a good relationship with his son and now a grandfather.
“I want to give back and help,” Chris said. “Every day, I see guys in the same spot I was in. I want them to know that recovery is possible. When I got clean, there was a stigma. Now, I am part of a church in Corbin, Parkway Ministries, that welcomes people in recovery. There is an atmosphere of acceptance.”