Stolch is 35 years old, and describes himself as an American Indian or Alaska native. He was training to be director at the Nisqually tribe, but opioids stood in the way. He knew he needed to stop using, but he couldn’t do it on his own. He attempted to get into treatment at Evergreen Treatment Services, but unfortunately there was a waiting list when he initially visited the clinic. He ended up quitting his job and moving home to Neah Bay to live with his mother.
To support his addiction, Stolch did a lot of things he isn’t proud of, including stealing money from his family. Eventually his mother caught on and gave him an ultimatum – quit or move out. He left Neah Bay and moved back to the Olympia area. After living in a tent for a few months, he once again went to ETS South Sound Clinic to see if they had room for him. Thanks to expanded capacity of treatment due to new regulations, the clinic was able to admit him. Stolch is proud to say that he has quit using all substances since day one of treatment.
Despite desperately wanting to be in recovery, Stolch admits that he would have used again without medication-assisted treatment (MAT). He had tried to stop using on his own before, but was afraid of the withdrawal symptoms. When they would hit, he just did drugs again.
Stolch says, “MAT gave me my life back. When I was on drugs, 99 percent of my time was spent seeking or doing drugs. This program allowed me to spend time doing other things.”
Stolch is now back up to a normal weight, exercises regularly, and is excited to spend more time outdoors. He was also living in a tent when he started treatment, and now he has his own home.
Despite all of this progress, Stolch knows that the work of recovery is not done. He’s building a healthy daily routine and focuses his energy on taking care of himself, his girlfriend, and their dogs. He’s looking forward to getting out and being more social, including spending time with his family and repairing the relationships that were damaged when he was using.
Stolch’s excited about the future. He’s considering a Master’s program in tribal and community government at Evergreen State College, and is exploring employment options.
Stolch’s biggest change has been his attitude. “I want to be a positive influence on people’s lives.”
See more about our work to change the lives of patients like Stolch at evergreentreatment.org/transformations.