Story of Recovery – Calvin Farmer

Calvin Farmer struggled with substance abuse for over 30 years. His addiction was so bad he thought the only way to end it was death.

Then a friend told him about Fairbanks. Farmer’s first two attempts in treatment didn’t work, because he says he didn’t take it seriously enough. That changed following an overdose in 2015.

“I realized then that if I didn’t address this, I was going to die from it,” Farmer said.

He returned to Fairbanks on Aug. 23, 2015. Farmer has been in recovery ever since.

Why did the third try finally click? For one thing, Farmer felt hope for the first time in a while. He credits many Fairbanks staffers for that. They showed no judgment and welcomed him back with open arms.

“That’s what reignited a light in me,” Farmer said. “I needed that shot of hope, and to know many of them have been through the same thing.”

He quickly improved physically and mentally. His spirituality took more work. It was initially tough for Farmer to admit he needed help, especially since he was taught while growing up that he could overcome any problems on his own.

“I carried that type of thinking all through adulthood,” Farmer said. “I tried carrying it into my recovery process too, but it didn’t work. I had to learn to trust God and not rely solely on pride.”

After his inpatient stay at Fairbanks, Farmer utilized its Partial Hospitalization (PHP) and Intensive Outpatient (IOP) programming. He faithfully attended 12-Step meetings and incorporated them into his daily life.

His counselors helped him find a place to stay at the Talbot House, where he worked his way from a volunteer to a manager. Farmer now also serves as chair of the central district of Cocaine Anonymous. Through that organization’s H&I (Hospitals and Institutions) Committee, he and other CA members visit places like Fairbanks and the Indiana Women’s Prison to mentor others about recovery.

Farmer takes special pride in working with youth at Transitions Academy of Indiana.

“I once was where they’re at,” he said. “I vowed that if I ever got to where I am now I would try to help others and expect nothing in return. Working with those kids has been the best part of my recovery.”

Farmer struggled early in his rehabilitation with the knowledge that he spent all of his children’s and most of his grandchildren’s adolescence in the throes of addiction. Thanks to his recovery, he was able to attend his youngest son’s wedding this summer and enjoy himself without using any substances.

“Today I’m grateful, and it all stems from Fairbanks,” Farmer said. “If I’d never come here I wouldn’t have the support network I have now.”