AMHERST - At the age of 11, Adam Willoughby became a drug user.
Now, 10 years later, Willoughby speaks out about the recovery program he went through with Portage Atlantic, starting on April 16, 2009.
"I was a fairly young adolescent," he said of the age when he started using drugs while hanging out with an older crowd.
"I was in places I never thought I would be, associating with people I didn't really want to associate with. I lost my family and friends..."
Then, Willoughby became emotional.
Willoughby shared his story Thursday morning during a free breakfast at the Lions Club for anyone who was interested to listen. Many in the audience worked with Addictions Services or Community Services.
Going in, Willoughby said, he wasn't the person he is today.
"There were a lot of issues I had to look at and I didn't know what they were. I was looking for the answers. I just knew I needed help and knew where I needed to go."
While he wanted the answers, Willoughby didn't look at himself for those answers.
"Like any addict, we know everything and we can do it ourselves and don't need the help," he said.
Completing his program in September, Willoughby said the facility helped him a lot.
"I got in touch with my emotions, which I'm not afraid to show. I'm not afraid to show the real me and who I found out I was," he said, adding leaving the program was like going to a new world again.
"You can change, but the world doesn't change for you."