SPANISH FORK, Utah — More Utahns are breaking free from substance abuse with help from a local rehabilitation program that was founded by recovering addicts.
Building Beginnings is helping one man’s journey to a more stable and successful life.
John Ridlon’s life used to look like a broke record; Prison, parole and just a whole lot of problems.
“The criminal behavior wasn’t something that was bred into me. It was something I, I did myself," Ridlon shared.
Now 45 years old, Ridlon says he first went to jail when he was 21 for a DUI. Soon, alcohol abuse turned into methamphetamine use, which sent his life into a chaotic, downward spiral.
During the troubling times, Ridlon also became a father, but that didn’t slow his drug use or frequent stays in jail and prison.
Until one night when he was with his son and high on meth.
"We had a terrible experience in Salt Lake where I was with him. I lost track of the FrontRunner time. So we were stuck in Salt Lake the whole night, on the street, without anyway home," remembered Ridlon.
That experience is when John said he started his life over again.
“People in prison always say, ‘Oh yeah, I am ready to change.’ I’m ready to do this, do this," said Ridlon. "Don’t talk about it. Be about it.”
Ridlon says Building Beginnings in Spanish Fork helped him do that.
Founded in 2017 by recovering addicts, the non-profit primarily focuses on helping those heal from drugs and alcohol.
"We give them all the opportunities that they need to build that foundation; to move on in life."" said Corum Hughes, Clinical Director for Building Beginnings.
Hughes says the program offers an individualized treatment approach, giving clients housing, transportation, and employment opportunities.
Mindset is also a big focus for those participating.
"We really try to focus on the clients strengths and individualism and help them to kind of find themselves and to kind of try to step out of this criminal mentality," added Hughes.
Hughes praises Ridlon for pulling himself out of a dark place. And John is happy with his own progress in less than two years.
Ridlon has a full-time job, his own place and is now putting family first.
"It doesn’t come easy. Didn’t come for me," said Ridlon. "But I was persistent in what I wanted. And I really wanted to change.”
John is also paying it forward and helping other clients going through the Building Beginnings program.