HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - The End Heroin HSV Walk is just days away. Organizers say the goal is to come together to fight and raise awareness to substance
David Wilbourn is on the board with Not One More Alabama and works as a manager at His Way Recovery House in Huntsville. He's now an advocate for heroin education because he's spent so many years of his life in the throes of addiction.
"I was a slave to the needle. I was a slave to heroin. I was a slave to the lifestyle," Wilbourn said.
What started as an innocent injury on the field, eventually flipped high school football star Wilbourn's life upside down.
"It's crazy for an outsider looking in on my life, because I was on the football team, on the baseball team, had all the friends," he said. "But I still had this void within myself and didn't know how to change that."
When Wilbourn tried painkillers, he said he found they also filled the emotional void in his life.
"I felt invincible. Untouchable. All those fears and insecurities, they were gone," he said.
When Wilbourn graduated Huntsville High School and started at the University of Alabama, he also graduated from painkillers – and moved on to something cheaper.
"I never ever thought I would do heroin. Who would stick a needle in their arm? That's crazy. Who would do that?"
Wilbourn said the line between abuse and addiction is thin. But after flunking out of Bama and living inside his car, he knew he'd crossed the line.
"I knew I needed help but I didn't know how to ask for help," he said.
Fast-forward to today: Wilbourn is a manager at His Way Recovery House – the very same place he got clean.
"I'm on the other side of it now. I realize part of my life goal is to pull other people out of it. If I can get out of it, you can too," he said.
Now, he's leading the End Heroin HSV walk, happening September 9th at Big Spring Park.
He said he's doing it to raise awareness and lessen the stigma from the epidemic.
"I think we need to start showing more, 'look what can happen,'" he said.
"There's victory in this. It's not just me. There are others like me. I want to see our community come together to stand up against this, and do whatever we have to, to make it happen."
The walk begins at 9 a.m. Organizers say the goal is to celebrate those who are currently recovering, remember those who have lost their life in the fight, and raise awareness to the epidemic in general.
There will be speakers from Addiction Prevention Coalition, Not One More Alabama, and other groups. A band is scheduled to play, there will be food trucks, and organizers say everyone is welcome to the free family-friendly event.
Copyright 2017 WAFF. All rights reserved.