Stillwater couple uses their story of addiction to foster hope at Teen Challenge

Provided. Todd and Angie Adams reached sobriety and now they are helping others facing the same struggle. 

Todd and Angie Adams have had a long standing history with drug addiction, and after reaching sobriety, they now pour into the lives of those with the same struggles.

Todd is the Executive Director at Stillwater Teen Challenge and his wife, Angie manages the Super Thrift store and is the Executive Assistant in charge of all the financials for Teen Challenge.

Todd said he grew up with a great family with two parents that raised him well.

He began experimenting with marijuana at a young age after suffering an injury from baseball.

“At a young age, I was a really, really good pitcher," Todd said. "Most Valuable Player every year, at the age 12 I threw my arm out."

When Todd played baseball, he threw all kinds of curveballs, things he said kids aren’t allowed to do anymore.

“So when I was 12, my arm was just wore out. I couldn't hold it, throw it from third base to first base and so I wasn’t a starting pitcher anymore," he said. "My whole identity was being a great athlete because my dad and big brother both played college sports.”

Angie had a different home life, and said due to her step-dad being an alcoholic she didn’t want to have that life.

“I had a fairly normal childhood; it wasn't the greatest," she said. "I had a stepfather that was very abusive and was an alcoholic, so I said I would never ever be that person."

After a surgery that required painkillers, Angie fell into the life of addiction when she was 36.

“I had a procedure done that I was put on pain pills, and at the time I had been married for 15 years and there was this void and in my marriage, that I was trying to fill something in me,” she said.

Angie said after the doctor stopped prescribing the medication, she looked elsewhere to buy them.

“In 2010, I was actually arrested and my husband at the time was an Ethics Investigator for the Legislature, and he had no idea that I was struggling and had been for several years with prescription pills, I hid it really well,” she said.

Both Todd and Angie said they were considered functioning addicts and both of them had many challenges before they reached recovery.

Todd began to use different forms of drugs and eventually turned to crack, and learned how to cook cocaine into crack.

“When I started smoking crack, within a few years I lost my pest control company that I had for 15 years in Memphis, a very successful bug pest program," he said. "It's still there to this day. My house burned down, I lost my wife, and my puppy dogs, lost everything. I was living in a motel room in Memphis."

Angie also began experimenting with crack after she met some people in a state funded rehab in Florida.

“I met the people that eventually, you know I would be using drugs with, and mine went from, you know, at first it was just prescription pills and then eventually I was introduced to crack, she said. “Before I came to the Teen Challenge, that's what I've been doing, that was my drug of choice.”

Todd said part of his story is that his dad never touched any form of substance. Todd described his mom as a “saint, but a great enabler.”

A defining moment for Todd was when his mom set some hard boundaries with him in his adult life.

“I called my mom for some help. And I'll never forget that phone call she said ‘son, I'm not giving you anything else. I can't help you, you can't come here, I’m not going to give you any more money, I'm not gonna love you to death.’ was her words. She said, ‘but I'll come get you somewhere where you can get help.’ Growing up my mom's brother was the director of Memphis Teen Challenge,” Todd said. “And so she was very familiar with Teen Challenge so her and my uncle came and got me out of the motel.”

Todd entered the Teen Challenge in Arkansas in 2001, and although he was there, he wasn’t getting the help for himself but for those he loved.

“I started in 2001, so it’s a 12-month program and it took me 24 months. I got kicked out of three Teen Challenges,” he said.

Todd said addicts need to get help for addiction for themselves versus trying to get to recovery from someone they love.

Angie also faced many obstacles on her journey to recover.

At one point, she was threatened by a judge that if she showed up in the courtroom again, they would send her to prison.

“And I actually, the last time that I was arrested, I went before the judge and he had told me that the next time I came to the courtroom, he was sentencing me to prison, and he just by the grace of God, he didn’t that time,” she said.“He sent me to Teen Challenge. So I went, I was transferred to Teen Challenge at Pensacola. Actually I walked through the doors in shackles and handcuffs.”

Todd and Angie’s story together

Todd and Angie met at the Teen Challenge in Pensacola, Florida, and eventually started dating once she graduated.

Angie said there were several restrictions placed on them when they started dating. They could go to church together and go on a date once a week.

We had to date with accountability for six months, we had to go through our director at the time, we had to have counseling,” she said.

In May 2015, the two got married.

Todd and Angie wanted a fresh start and eventually moved to Oklahoma City, before settling in Stillwater as their forever community.

“We never thought we'd be living in Oklahoma. But we absolutely fell in love with Stillwater,” Todd said.

As a long-term goal, Todd said he and Angie would like to one day open a Teen Challenge Women’s Center, because as of now Stillwater Teen Challenge only hosts men.

Teen Challenge currently has 25 men but at one point they had 52, before the pandemic hit.

Todd said if someone is seeking recovery, they can help, even if the individual doesn’t have the funds.

“I always tell people that everybody knows somebody that's struggling with addiction nowadays and usually it's a close family member,” Todd said. “The main thing is don't ever give up. Don't ever quit on them, you know don't enable them, don't enable them but help them get somewhere to get help keep praying and keep believing there is hope.”

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