Step’s new staff member Ryan Vandiver grew up in Pueblo, CO, watching drive-in movies from his front porch with his Grandma among all the other ordinary activities of a growing boy. “My Grandma pretty much raised me. But then she passed away my Sophomore year of high school from cancer. And that’s really when my addiction kicked off.” Ryan moved in with his grandmother’s sister and finished high school, but after graduation things went downhill from there. “In 2014, I got a DUI, followed by years of doing the unknown things for drugs/alcohol and letting bad relationships consume me.” This time period for Ryan consisted of some failed attempts at recovery, as well as extended time spent at Confluence Park and a memorable, negative experience at a homeless shelter that ended up propelling him towards the doors of Step.
Ryan shared this message with his Facebook friends soon after entering Step - “Recently I have noticed I’ve been smiling a lot more because life is a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about, especially if I surround myself with those who make me happy! I am beginning to feel like me again. Explore. Discover. I wink at any challenge. Staying positive. Open minded. Meditation. Music. Strength. Content. Staying motivated. Confident. Looking into the details of the smallest things. Always looking for a good in a bad! It works! And I’m loving it!”
Today, Ryan has finally ‘gotten off papers’ for that DUI in 2014, and after working with animals at City Bark, a hotel haven for dogs, has recently accepted a position with Step as our Weekday Overnight Facility Coordinator. “It is such an honor to be on staff at Step. It shows they have trust in me, and getting to see things from the eyes of a staff member lets things come full circle for me. I will go out of my way to help these gentleman in anyway I can, because every single one of them, I’ve been in their shoes, so I really get it and want to help.”
Ryan is currently almost 8 months into his recovery and lives at one of Step’s sober homes. “Step Denver is my sacred ground – as my living environment, as my work environment, and as my family."