Widner now lives at the Oxford House at 2741 Holmes, whose members chartered it in Kansas to avoid the dysfunction and volatility of Missouri Oxford Houses. – DAVE COATES

If every recovering addict is a redemption in waiting, a shaky rise after a crushing fall, David Widner will tell you that he descended from a higher altitude than most.

“I had a net worth of $1.4 million in 2001,” Widner told me in February. “Cocaine took it all.”

He had met me for coffee at Crows, south of the Plaza, on a short break from studying at the University of Missouri–Kansas City library for his Series 7 exam, which will allow him to regain his stockbroker’s license. Widner was a retail broker and financial adviser — Paine Webber, UBS — in Kansas City for 20 years. The leftovers of his upper-class lifestyle are still visible in faded traces: Patagonia fleece, North Face backpack, a chipped iPhone 4. His cheeks are pockmarked and scarred. Behind owlish reading glasses, his eyes are those of someone who has lived through nightmares.

Widner’s drug use spiraled out of control around 2002, he says. He lost his job, then his savings, then his marriage. He spent the better part of the next decade in and out of treatment centers. “I did stints at all the big ones: Hazelden, Sierra Tucson, [the] Farley [Center],” Widner said.

He finally got clean at Welcome House, a gritty recovery program for men. There, at 27th Street and the Paseo, he eventually started helping out: preparing food, assisting with administrative tasks, running errands. He went back to school at UMKC to get a degree in chemistry. He found a roommate and an apartment, then a job at UMKC as a lab assistant. He worked at the university from January 2013 to June 2014.

But he lost that job — he says funding cuts at his research lab forced a layoff — and he started drinking again. He got in a bike accident that caused a concussion. A temporary stint late last year as a chemist at Belfonte Ice Cream lasted only a few months.

“I decided, at that point, I was sick of being… [Read The Full Article on The Pitch Here]

Original Article Published By David Hudnall – Mar 24, 2015 – 8 Pm

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