Todd and Sherri

Saved by a Strong Belief in Themselves and Their Family

Todd started drinking when he was 16. Sherri when she was just 13. That was more than 25 years and two shattered lives ago.

For Todd, drinking was a family tradition. His grandfather and father drank. He got his first beer from his dad when he was only 8. Sherri drank to escape. She moved on to cocaine, marijuana, crack, LSD and speed by the time she was 16.

The two met at a bar when Todd was 27 and Sherri was 24. She introduced him to harder drugs. Although he still favored alcohol, he found that he could drink non-stop for days when he was on speed. So for him, hard drugs were a way to turbo charge his drinking.

Between the two of them, they have three kids. He had a son and she had a daughter from previous relationships, and they have a son together. For years, they drank, did drugs and fought every day of their tumultuous relationship.

They hit rock bottom when they got kicked out of their house and the father of Sherri’s daughter talked her into moving in with him. She took the kids, which turned out to be a blessing and a curse. One night her ex woke her by choking and beating her. When her three-year-old son tried to save her, he was beaten too. The attack lasted for more than 12 hours. In the end, their kids were removed from their custody by the courts.

While they worked their way through the court system, they heard about the Heartland Center for Behavioral Change. There was a two-month wait, but Sherri signed up. When she went in for treatment, Todd quit cold turkey to show his support.

“It would have been selfish of me to continue to use while she was working hard to get clean and get our family back,” Todd said.

Their strength was tested again the day before Sherri got out of treatment. Todd’s son was killed in an accident. In a strange way, though, it only strengthened their resolve. They realized how short life is and how important it is to cherish their family and hold them close.

“Our drug use was a spiral we couldn’t get out of. At least not on our own,” said Sherri. “Our kids have paid the price for our selfishness and mistakes.”

Today, they are still working with the court system and children’s services to put their family back together. Having never been together sober, they feel like they are dating and getting to know each other for the first time. They have a second chance to fall in love.

And recovery is truly a family effort. Their daughter goes to AA and NA with them. And just the other day their son, now four, asked what their coping skills are.

“A power greater than ourselves has gotten us through this, has saved our lives,” said Todd. “We’re stronger now, and we’re going to do this.”