HARRISON COUNTY, W.Va (WDTV) - Dozens of people gathered at the Clarksburg Baptist Church Monday for the first day of a week-long training session for recovery coaches.
Many of the people in attendance at the Recovery Coach Academy have struggled with addiction themselves, and they hope their stories resonate with others.
"I've been there," said Pete Gallo. "I've woken up in a jail cell, I've done drugs, I've slept on the street; I've been down and out and I feel like I can help those people who've been there."
Gallo, who has been clean for eight months, believes an emphasis shared experiences is a powerful message for those who don't know where to turn.
"I'll take advice from someone who's been in my situation, before I'll take it from some counselor or somebody that's never been there," Gallo said.
Many of the prospective coaches say this training session is another opportunity to further their own recovery.
"I finally just got custody of two of my kids," Jeremiah Dodrill said. "I want them to be proud of their dad."
Dodrill, 36, was addicted to drugs for his whole adult life--18 years. He recalls his lowest point last October, when he walked into a courtroom and told the judge he was too high for court.
Dodrill said he became proficient at beating drug tests, all while he continued to use methamphetamine.
But near the end of last year, he had enough. Dodrill approached his probation officer, and revealed his cheating.
"I was tired of living the same life that I was living before," Dodrill said.
Sober for 128 days, Dodrill says he's exactly where he needs to be--on the path to becoming certified as a recovery coach.
"This is something I want to do for the rest of my life," he said.