Local man defying odds, changing lives of others in community

TAYLOR COUNTY—Everyone has probably heard the saying that it’s never too late to start over, and one Grafton resident is showing that even though things seem like they are at their worst, with enough willpower, the impossible can be overcome.

Brian Kennedy is a name that residents have heard when reading about court issues and crime in Taylor County. The Grafton resident knows that he has made somewhat of a name for himself, but after a recent court hearing, he has begun to change his life around and has vowed to help others.

“I have been in and out of trouble for a long time. And, I would have to say at my turning point I was at the lowest I had ever been,” shared Kennedy. “I was using a gram of meth two or three times a day, and although I love my family, all I really cared about what how and when I was going to get my next fix.”

He shared that he was in a court hearing with Judge Alan D. Moats, who he had appeared before so many other times, but for some reason, this time the judge’s words echoed in Kennedy’s head and forced him to reevaluate his life.

“He told me that I was the only one that had the power to break the cycle of addiction that I had seen and become part of,” Kennedy revealed. “I don’t know why, but for some reason, his words really stuck with me this time.”

From the moment, Kennedy knew he had to make a change in his life, not just for himself but for his family.

“I struggled, but it’s not just the drugs an addict struggles with. Once it hits you, you struggle with the fact that you’ve put your family through it all too,” he said. “I went through a hard time getting clean, but my family also went through it too.”

He said he began attending NA classes, and had an individual begin talking about losing his kids in one of the meetings, and that would change the course for Kennedy’s life forever.

“He started talking about it all and the NA leader told him it was not NA related,” he noted. “But, in all honesty it was because it was a trigger for that addict’s drug usage. I knew then that I wanted to form an NA group, but soon realized there was a lot of red tape to go through.”

While he still has hopes of one day having his own NA group, Kennedy set out to form another place where people struggling with issues in their life could meet and talk.

“This support group isn’t just for addicts, it’s for anyone going through something,” he revealed. “We all have stuff happen in our lives and need to find support, and this is the place to do that.”

Kennedy began a Facebook group called Taylor County support group struggles, which is a place of non-judgment and togetherness.

So far, the group has reached over 300 members from 16 different states, that come together to share their stories in hopes of helping someone out.

Kennedy reported that he would eventually like to gather resources that members could access on the page for whatever issues they are dealing with. He even lists his phone number, 304-903-8201, for anyone to use when they feel like they need to talk to someone.

“I don’t care what time of day it is, I will answer their call, because I know what it is like to be in their shoes,” he commented.

Not only does he have an active Facebook group, but Kennedy has also spearheaded a support group, where people can go to feel like they belong.

“I want them to feel like they have people who care, like they have a family,” Kennedy said. “Sometimes when we meet, it’s just to talk, and other times we play basketball or cornhole and listen to music.”

The group meets every Saturday at Maple Avenue Park, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

“We strive to make it a comfortable environment. Come out and bring your friends and family. Bring anyone you want, just don’t bring negativity,” he voiced.

Kennedy shared that he would eventually like to take his message of recovery and hope to the students in Taylor County Schools and has already begun talking with the sheriff’s department about it.

His change and positive attitude have garnered the attention of many of those who had seen Kennedy at his worst.

“You’ve seemed to put it back together,” Moats said to Kennedy during a recent hearing. “I’m proud of you and what you are trying to do for the community. You can help people more than I can, and what you are doing is inspiring. I truly hope you continue to host your groups you have started and help heal the community. It is people like you that have been through it that need to step up and lend a hand.”

Kennedy said that is what it was all about, the community.

“The community has to come together to fight the drug issues that we have here. And that’s what it is going to take to drive them out of here, the community working together,” Kennedy noted.”

Kennedy shared that he knows he has an uphill battle ahead of him and that there will be many that doubt he will stay on a sober path, but he is willing to work to prove to the community that people truly can change their lives around.

“I was wrong for what I was doing, and I know I have a lot to prove to the community. I struggled, but I worked hard for my sobriety,” Kennedy shared. “I just want to be an inspiration to addicts who are trying to change their life around. It can be done, and I want to prove that.”


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