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Employee Recovery Spotlight: Patrick Fleury

December 8, 2021 at 01:13pm

We hire looking forward to the future, not judging on the past. Everyone arrives on their first day at Rhino with a unique background and story, and that’s what makes this place so special. From the start, we support one another, no matter where we have come from or what we are going through. Over time, we come to know each other as family and learn how to best support each other in and out of the workplace.

Now, we are sharing one of the stories of our incredible employees, in his own words. The accompanying video shares the journey of Patrick Fleury, his recovery, and the path that led him to Rhino.

We’d like to thank Patrick for opening up about his story, and for giving us the opportunity to share it with the community. If you are needing support with addiction recovery, please do not hesitate to reach out for help. For Rhino employees, you can reach out to Maia, our Resource Coordinator, or Lisa, our Recovery Coach. You can also contact our EAP (Employee Assistance Program) at 855-774-4357. For non- Rhinos, we recommend you contact the Turning Point Center at 802-861-3150.

Rhino Employee, Patrick Fleury

Video Transcript:

I have been sober since March 4, 2015, which is 2,387 days!

I started drinking in my teen years and blew away a lot of opportunities.  I was drinking to fit in and I wanted to become popular.  I became known for being able to drink more than anyone else at the high school parties.  By age 14 I was an excellent bowler and could have gone on to become a professional bowler.  But my drinking got in the way I blew that chance. 

My drinking got so bad that my parents threw me out of the house, and I dropped out of high school.  I later got my GED and then went to college to become a police officer.  The stuff I saw when working in the police department was traumatic.  I saw death happen too often, so I escaped the pain with more drinking.  The common thing to do with my fellow officers was drinking and it wasn’t common to ask for help after any traumatic events or you might be found not fit to be in that field.

I was married and my wife got tired of my drinking, and she divorced me.  Because of my drinking and holding grudges, even on my father’s death bed, I refused to go say goodbye to him.  I was drinking on average a 30 pack a day.  The day after my divorce, I showed up to work with alcohol in my system and I lost my law enforcement job.  I wasn’t paying my bills.  I got a DUI.  A year after my divorce and losing my job, I became suicidal.  One time I even blacked out from drinking too much and woke up with a loaded gun to my head.  I felt like I lost everything.  

I had violations and several times in court, and I was placed on probation and sent to rehab multiple times. I relapsed after each rehab and was lying about my sobriety.  I even went to jail for 14 days.  Finally, in 2015, I was sent to rehab again and when I got out I was placed in a sober house.  I realized I had no choice and didn’t want to go to jail again and have remained sober since then.  

I graduated from the sober house.  I started going to the gym and to AA meetings and that is what helped me with my recovery.  The last year has been hard with the pandemic with the gyms shut down and in-person AA meetings closed, so I had to rely on my friends to get me through.

I still have cravings, but I need to remember not to tempt fate and have a drink.  As a police officer, I used to think that alcohol was different than using drugs and not as bad because alcohol was legal and so I thought it wasn’t going to affect me.  I now realize that it is just as bad as using drugs.  

I have learned to accept and forgive myself and to not feel shame, but to use this as a stepping stone to get to where I want to be.

My advice to anyone struggling with addiction is to not be ashamed, don’t be afraid to ask for help.  People are not as judgmental as you think, and you are not alone.  Things can get better!  Talk in confidence to Rhino’s recovery coach – don’t try to tackle it all by yourself.  It is a safe space to open up and share what you are going through and get the help before it’s too late! 

One thing I didn’t have until I came to Rhino was a job that gave me an opportunity and I was starting over again.  To this day I am so grateful that Rhino is a recovery-friendly workplace, and they don’t judge you for the past and they give you the resources you need to be successful.  I now have purpose each day to be here and to learn to live again.  I have a new chance at life!