William’s Story

Hi I am William Akridge.

I was a drug addict and an alcoholic for about 5 years, meaning five years not trying to find recovery. The reason I started was because my father was fighting cancer, year after year, and it was very difficult for me. I did not deal with it in a healthy way. As his health got worse and worse, mine did, as well.

On July 1st 2019, I had a massive overdose, and I passed out in a position that cut off the circulation to both of my legs and my left arm. It also suffocated the nerves, as well. I was in that position for about ten hours, and then my baby brother came out and found me and called the ambulance. The ambulance picked me up and my kidneys and my liver shut down, so they decided to air lift me to a bigger hospital in South Carolina, where I was living at the time. In the helicopter, I died twice and they revived me with a defibrilator.

After I got to the hopsital, they found out I had this disease from lack of blood flow, called rhabdomyolysis. It was very rapidly atrophying and eating all of my muscles. It was so bad, once I got to the hospital, that they told my parents that for 2 days I was alive but that I was definitely going to die. After 2 days, that disease had worked its way, right here, to the middle of my chest, where I have, still to this day, still a hole on the other side of my heart, which they said is what would kill me, once it reached my heart.

Then, the disease reversed itself, and the doctors do not know why it happened. But they told my parents that I was going to make it. I woke up a week later with all three limbs completely paralyzed. They told me I wouldn’t walk again adn that nothing was going to come back. I said. . . NO. I guess I just didn’t accept their dooming diagnosis. I fought really hard in physical therapy and got to the point where I could ride in a vehicle without my arm popping out of socket because there was no muscle holding it on. I got to the point where I was strong enough to get into the vehicle and I flew out to Utah to get addiction treatment.

I lived in sober living for about a year after that. I had gotten movement, but not feeling, out my arm and my legs down to my knees. I couldn’t move or feel anything below that, except for intense nerve pain. So on July 7th, 2020, I had my legs amputated below the knees. It took a significant amount of my pain away. It allowed me to do the things that I love, like camping and exploring outdoors, and just being out in the mountains. So now I work part-time at an AVA autism therapy facility, where I am a therapist for kids with autism. My other part time job is as a recovery coach at a drug and alchohol addiction treatment center.

This physical fight has been very difficult for me, but it has been nothing, compared to how difficult it has been to stay sober. I have recently found that it is very important to my sobriety to share my story and use the pain and tragedy tha tI have brought upon myself and my life, to steer others away from it, who have not been through it yet but are headed that way, and also to encourage others who have gone farther down that dark road, that it is possible to turn around, and live a full and fulfilled life.

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