Dunn County (WQOW)- Sometimes the hardest fight is the one happening within oneself. In the Chippewa Valley that battle often times starts with drug addiction. In the third and final part of News 18's Road to Resilience series, Christopher Davidson shares how he turned a life of hardships in to one of hope.
Davidson is an artist, gifted in drawing and photography. As he draws details of his life, the lines tell a story of a painted past. At just six years old, Davidson's life looked more like a prison sentence than a childhood, at the hands of his step-dad.
"Locked me in my own bedroom, handcuffed me to sleep, like I had a bucket of bleach for my toilet, it was like solitary confinement," Davidson said. While growing up, home was found all over the country, bouncing from Wisconsin, Las Vegas, California and back. But hardship wasn't subject to state lines.
"Somerset was so hard on me with the racial slurs, and I was always like fighting with people," Davidson said.
By the time Davidson was in his late teens and early twenties, his only way out was by drowning it all out.
"I just needed something to cope with the loneliness, you know growing up with an alcoholic it's all I knew, at such a young age alcoholism is horrific," Davidson said.
At seventeen Davidson got his first taste of life behind bars, serving five years for stealing beer. Davidson's destiny soon became a sequence of sentences, struggles and self medication, in search of a solution.
"Most of us, if we have had the opportunity to develop resilience know that okay, we can stop, think and work our way through it. One of the things with the impact of the drugs on the brain is that ability to stop and think your way through it is kind of lost," said Marshfield Clinic Substance Abuse Director Sheila Weix.
In his mid twenties Davidson moved down to Texas. While there he did six months of in-patient treatment and stayed sober for two and a half years. But a break up in 2013 would bring him back up to Wisconsin and cause the past to resurface.
"Stayed drunk all the time, like everyday just got drunk. Slept in my car, slept in hotel rooms, and then started doing meth again," Davidson said. "When the task force and the police surrounded us with their guns drawn and everything, that was like the moment of, that was the point of no return right there, like oh my god. This is what my life has become, like I'm about to go to jail or prison for a very long time."
In the Dunn County jail Davidson was rerouted. Now working his way through the Dunn County Treatment Court, he's going on 18 months sober. His days are now painted with a new picture, of family and forgiveness.
"People don't need to be beaten down to do treatment they already feel terrible. They need to know that there's hope, that they're worth doing treatment and that things can get better," Weix said.
"Everything happened the way it happened so that I can be who I am today, it gives me that hard won-wisdom," Davidson said. "There is hope, there is life after death."
He's come full circle, burying the blame of childhood burdens.
"You know, being locked in my room with a bucket full of bleach in like a solitary confinement at that young age, I think it actually helped me get through prison, because prison was a lot easier than what I went through as a child," Davidson said.
If there's someone struggling with addiction in your family, Weix said the best thing to do is reach out to local physicians in order to better understand the addiction and to get set up with support groups