"Live a good life, and in the end, it’s not the years in the life, it’s the life in the years."

The tale of two recoveries — Victor Estrada

By on April 27, 2020 in Uncategorized with 1 Comment
Victor Estrada and his fiancee Katie Skinner: Embracing recovery was his path back.

By Dominick Bonny

Victor Estrada  and Joseph Hunter are fixtures of the Central Washington Recovery community. 

They are known to seemingly every addict in the five county region, especially those in recovery. They have become role models, mentors and sponsors to many looking to build a better life out of the ashes of longterm addiction. 

They have gone from members of the rogues gallery —individuals law enforcement officers know are bad news — to trusted partners in drug prevention efforts. They have the respect of local and state officials and regularly lobby and advise state legislators on drug prevention policies. 

And they are friends. 

This two-part story provides a brief glimpse into where they came from, who they are now and what they are trying to accomplish by “Making Recovery The Epidemic” — words emblazoned on nearly every clothing item they own. 

They’ve lived as slaves to addiction and now they are devoted to freeing others still under the thrall of the cruel master they once served body and soul — addiction. 

Victor  Estrada was once a drug dealer. Now he calls himself a hope dealer.

Over the course of his 45 years, he estimates he’s spent about 20 behind bars. 

It started with drinking around the age of six or seven. By 13 he was running with a gang and by 17 he was addicted to meth, cocaine and anything else he could get his hands on.

He once told me a story about when he was 20 and he had just become a father.

“My daughter was born when I was 20. The only way I knew how to raise income was by selling drugs,” he said. “Her mom got arrested when she was less than 5-weeks-old. Me and my friend were taking turns doing shifts on who was going to sell and then we would take showers and one person would watch my daughter while the other sold drugs.”

It wasn’t long before his home was raided, he lost custody of her and he was on his way to prison. After getting out he said he didn’t see the point in living if he couldn’t see his daughter, so he decided to go on a “suicide mission.”

“I was on meth for 29 days. I went from 185 to 117 pounds,” Estrada said. “On the 29th day, I ended up in the emergency room, self-admitted.”

He was at rock bottom and turned to social media to air his grievances. That’s when an old friend with a decade in recovery reached out to him and invited him to join a 12-step program.

He had been in a 12-step program before, but this time was different. His niece was about to give birth and she told him that if he wasn’t clean he would never get to hold her daughter. It was at that moment he said he looked deep inside himself and asked, “Why were you getting high for 20 years?”

Self-loathing was the answer. It didn’t help any that he gave his daughter up for adoption and he hated himself for it.

So he used any substance around to dull the pain. 

Embracing recovery was his path back.

“For me, the 12-step program is about change and growth,” he said. “Who you can become and how you can help others.”

Helping others is his new mission. He works as a homeless outreach coordinator at the Women’s Resource Center, Bruce Housing in Wenatchee, getting people off the street and into recovery programs if they need it.

He also uses social media to get the word out about people who need help and sets up crowdfunding campaigns for them.

Recently, he and his friend Joseph Hunter learned about a local boy who had his bike stolen.

They set up a GoFundMe with the goal of raising $150 to replace the bike. The next morning they had $750 in donations.

So they got him a new bike, a $350 gift card to JCPenney for new clothes and a brand new Playstation 4. Needless to say, the boy and his mother were overwhelmed and grateful for the help and the outpouring of support from Victor, Joey, and the recovery community.

Victor also just celebrated his fifth year in recovery, a date he calls his birthday and got engaged to his longtime girlfriend on the beach on the Oregon Coast.

Victor’s story proves you can make a lot of mistakes and break a lot of things over the course of your life, but it’s never too late to change. Victor Estrada’s story proves it’s never too late to live a good life.

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  1. Cecilia Ohman says:

    “It’s never too late to have a good life.”

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