My Story

 Picture of Mom, Sister, and Myself
Hello everyone! Thank you so much for visiting my website and reading a little about my life, my addiction, and my recovery. I am so excited to get this site more functional to be able to reach more people and help others into a better life that I call “A Sober Lifestyle”. My name is Rich Bollinger, and I live in Lafayette, CO, which is about halfway between Denver and Boulder on the Colorado Front Range. I am a fully licensed, trained, and insured interventionist, recovery coach, recovery transport, and recovery companion.

I was born in Memphis, TN and have two great parents that are still married. I have one younger sister who is married to a great guy, with one child and another on the way.

I went to all boys, private schools in Memphis from kindergarten until I graduated high school. I was diagnosed with ADHD in around 5th grade and was prescribed medication. During this time, everyone was diagnosed with ADHD. I have no idea if I have it or not.

Growing up, I was always into sports, I played all sports, but baseball was my focus; I dragged my family all over the country to baseball tournaments.

My graduating class in high school was 82 people, all guys, and everyone excelled at something, if not multiple, so the environment was very competitive. 

I can’t remember exactly the age of my first drink, probably 12-13 – 6th grade. Starting around 7th grade until I graduated high school if I wanted alcohol I would find a way to get it. I started sneaking alcohol from my parent’s liquor cabinet until they started to notice and put a lock on it. Then I started to steal liquor from friend’s parents liquor cabinets, until I got older enough to ask older people to buy it for me, and then around 16 I got my own fake id and knew the places around town that would sell to me. It wasn’t like I was drinking all day and night, it was only a weekend thing when I would go out with friends, but my parents were always strict and knew what was going on. They bought a breathalyzer by the time I was 17, so I had to be sneaky.

So, I could not wait to move out of my parent’s house and go to college where I could do whatever I wanted. I could have gone to some small colleges to play college baseball, but I just wanted to do my own thing; I was very burned out by sports by this time. Because of these reasons I decided to go to Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX. I decided to major in business.

I got into a fraternity my freshman year, and we did all the things that a typical fraternity would do. In college, I followed what I would consider a pretty typical drug and alcohol addiction progression. I drank too much my freshman year, and by my sophomore and junior years I was doing any drug around. My senior year I was doing those things as well as doing too many pain pills. During college I kept decent grades, not great, but good enough, but I was either high or drunk most days. After four years of undergrad, I graduated and decided to get my MBA at SMU’s one year program, which I graduated from by the skin of my teeth.

I wouldn’t say that my addictions starting getting “bad” until my second semester senior year and my grad school year; that was when I started getting depressed about the direction of my life and had no idea where I was going or what I wanted to do. During this time a friend gave me an OxyContin pill, and I was instantly hooked. I was addicted very quickly. After graduating I got a good job at an accounting firm in Dallas, but was fired within a year because of my drug problem. A couple of weeks after I was fired I called my dad and told him that I had a drug problem and that I needed help. Before this my family and friends didn’t really know how bad my drug problem had become.

I was essentially chased out of town, and I went to a treatment center in Baton Rouge, LA, and soon after took a job there. This would lead me down a path for the next few years where I would follow the cycle of going in and out of treatment centers in different cities followed by short periods of sobriety, then by a relapse, a period of using, a deeper bottom, and then back into a treatment center.

I have been clean and sober ever since I went into a treatment center in Colorado, did their extended care program, and moved into a sober living house where I would stay for months. I now have a life of my own free from drugs and alcohol. Is everything in life perfect now? No, of course not, nobody’s life is perfect, but today I have choices about the direction that my life will take, whereas before my life was controlled by drugs and alcohol. I have a spiritual life connected to the god of my own understanding, I have a good relationship with my family, have good friends both in and out of the recovery community, do as many fun outdoor things as I can (I love to fly fish, ski, and go on hikes), and I have an amazing golden retriever named Shelby (picture of her at 6 months below). I have and enjoy these great things because I do the things on a daily basis that support my recovery: I have a sponsor in a 12-step group and I sponsor other men, I do my best to help others, I meditate, I volunteer at the Boulder County Jail once a week, I am on the board of a recovery based high school in Denver, I still see a therapist weekly, and I have as much fun as I can! 

 

Next Steps…

If you would like to talk to me about your situation or the situation of someone you love, please get in touch.