Boardman man shares his story with addiction, offers hope to others facing it

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Jerome hopes to serve as an inspiration and glimmer of hope to those struggling with addiction

BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – With all of the hardships we’re facing amidst the pandemic, a Boardman man is sharing his story of triumph.

Jerome Varga says the road to addiction recovery wasn’t easy, but it was worth the fight.

Two years ago, 41-year-old Jerome Varga was arrested for drug possession in Youngstown.

“It turned into something I had to do. It was like, I needed the drugs and alcohol as much as I needed air to breathe, to live. That’s what my brain told me,” Jerome said.

Sunday evening, Jerome sat alongside his wife, Stacey, and shared his story.

He says after using OxyContin and heroin for 19 years, he knew it was time for a change.

“I’ve been in and out of a 12-step fellowship for a long time. This time, something was different. I had to change. I hurt my family members, my children especially. It was just time,” Jerome said.

Jerome says he had a normal upbringing, so he wasn’t sure what caused his addiction, but it wasn’t until he had seen the damage his drug usage caused his family when he decided to change.

“I was living a life that wasn’t even a life. You can look at my eyes in the picture I was arrested and they were black. Nothing behind it. There was no soul, person, love or compassion there. It was just emptiness,” Jerome said.

Now, Jerome is more focused and consistent with his change, praying daily and utilizing his support group in his 12-step program.

“I’m a productive member of society. I have a great paying job, and I’m able to now show up when my family needs me,” he said. “I’d be lying to say that daily life is perfect or beautiful because it’s not. But my worst days today are better than any of my best days when I was drinking or using.”

Stacey stood alongside Jerome throughout his addiction. She speaks highly of her husband and the changes he’s made.

“He’s one of those people that a lot of people look up to and they should because he’s a prime example of what recovery looks like,” she said.

Jerome hopes to serve as an inspiration and glimmer of hope to those struggling with addiction.

“If you’re feeling hopeless and don’t know where to turn, look me up. I will do everything I can,” Jerome said. “I have a lot of resources that I know that can help other people.”

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