HEALTHY MIND MATTERS

Addiction Doesn’t Discriminate: A Utah Grandfather’s Journey Back From The Brink

Jul 27, 2018, 8:06 PM

LAYTON, Utah Life-threatening drug addiction often begins innocently. For one man, prescription pain pills took him on a dangerous path.

“As an addict, we think that we’re unstoppable, that there’s no pill we can’t take,” said Dale Covington, who lives in Layton.

It started 20 years ago after a serious car accident. A doctor prescribed him pain pills.

“The euphoria was instant, probably as fast as 10 to 15 minutes from taking the pill,” he said.

From there, Covington was hooked.

“I started to use it to mask things in the past and to camouflage things in the past and then it became something I took just to cope with life,” he said.

The normally doting husband and father began neglecting his wife and kids.

“Getting my next pill became number one for me,” he said.

The Covingtons felt ashamed and unsure of where to turn for help, and who to trust.

“I was completely embarrassed because you have this idea that what your spouse does is a direct reflection of you,” said Amy Covington, his wife.

As his addiction worsened, Covington said getting the pills from a doctor was easy.

“He would ask every once in a while, ‘I’m noticing that you’re going through these a bit too fast, and I would just, ‘Yah, maybe I am.’ And I would leave with a prescription,” he said.

In 2006, stress and loss of family members pushed Covington over the edge.

“I turned him over and he was blue, so mayhem broke out,” Amy Covington said. “The kids are freaking out and I’m trying to get the phone so I can call 9-1-1.”

Dale Covington had stopped breathing in their family room.

He had overdosed, but still his brush with death wasn’t enough to make him stop taking pain pills.

“That’s when I gave him the ultimatum because I thought, ‘You’ve destroyed our relationship,’” Amy Covington said.

He decided to change.

Rehab, the LDS 12-step program, and his faith helped Covington recover. He’s been sober for 12 years now and helps others struggling with addiction at Hill Air Force Base.

“I work as a wingman advocate and it’s special,” he said. “I’ve been able to help them get the resources they need to have a better life, a happier life.”

Amy Covington said, “He amazes me. I’m amazed. I’m so proud and I’m so glad that he did what he needed to do.”

Now, he’s grateful for the life he has, and the chance to give back.

“I’ve been to the depths of some places that people don’t get up out of,” he said.

Covington is now a co-chair of the Addiction Policy Forum Utah state chapter and is helping spread the word about a new free database in Utah to help those struggling with addiction find healthcare providers and treatment centers in their county. Visit addictionresourcecenter.org or call 1-833-301-HELP to learn more or get help.

He will be speaking at an outreach presentation at the Layton City Amphitheater on Aug. 7 in an event that goes from 6 – 9 p.m. Other speakers include Attorney General Sean Reyes and DEA Utah Agent in Charge, Brian Besser. For more information, email him at addictionrecoveryspeaker@gmail.com.

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Addiction Doesn’t Discriminate: A Utah Grandfather’s Journey Back From The Brink