I Was Shot at Columbine—This Is What School Shooting Survivors Face

I am a person in long-term recovery.

I credit my successful recovery with a long-term inpatient program and ongoing aftercare that kept me on track. Combined with a group of friends that I met in recovery who continue to hold me accountable to being the absolute best version of myself. I stayed in a continuum of care for fourteen total months. Without that structure and support I could never be where I am today. Through this experience, I found my calling in helping others on their journey from addiction. I knew that I could never go back to the life I was living, and I was prepared to do whatever it takes. I took a leap of faith and walked away from a career that I once thought gave me everything I ever wanted. I went back to school and started waiting tables to supplement my student loans. Eventually, I secured a part-time position as the marketing director for a sober living facility and I was well on my way.

Today, I am the Chief Operations Officer for a long-term addiction treatment center in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.  I am on the board of directors for Stout Street Foundation and 5280 High School, both non-profit agencies in Denver, Colorado, that focus on atypical methods of addiction recovery and prevention. I am also a featured member of an international speaker’s bureau dedicated to inspiring change in the way society views addiction.

I am a force in long-term recovery.

I am sharing my story to put a face behind the statistics. To show how one person hit multiple rock bottoms and still managed to find a way out. Our stories alone are powerful, but our stories together are powerful beyond measure. Let’s change the national conversation around addiction and prescription drug abuse. For anyone struggling with addiction: You are not alone. There is help. You can recover. With time and hard work you can think again, feel again, and remember who you were before addiction.

Remember that just because you hit bottom doesn’t mean you have to stay there.– Robert Downey Jr.


This article originally appeared at RyanHampton.org.  Please visit the author’s website at AustinEubanks.com.

Read this next: I Raised a Heroin Addict, and I Learned Something Every Mom Should Know.

Austin Eubanks
Austin Eubanks
Austin Eubanks is an injured survivor of the Columbine shooting. This traumatic experience as a teen was the catalyst to his painful journey through addiction. Now in long-term recovery, he has devoted his career to helping those who have turned to substances as a result of trauma. Find out more about Austin and his work and speaking engagements at his site, AustinEubanks.com, or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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