Randy Byrge

“As dirty as you can imagine,” says Randy Byrge. “I was that dirty.”

Those are the words of someone who has been to the bottom and found his way back. They’re words that would be difficult for most to utter about themselves. And, yet, Byrge doesn’t shy away from his past of substance abuse. He wants to tell his story, in fact. He’s told it in schools, in churches. By telling it, he hopes to convince people that he’s no longer the person he once was. By telling it, he hopes he can help others who might be where he once was.

Where he once was, was a pit of despair. No longer trusted by those who mattered most in his life. His name had been dragged through the mud, printed on the pages of newspapers — including this one. He had literally lost everything.

But God.

If you spend much time around Randy Byrge, who these days is a Peer Recovery Specialist for the Scott County Recovery Court, you’ll hear him say those two words — “But God” — a lot. Those words are scripture. More than that, they’re the words that put his feet on the path to recovery. And they’re words that provide hope, he says, for countless Scott Countians who struggle with addiction.

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The complete story can be found in the December 28, 2017 print edition of the Independent Herald.

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Ben Garrett is Independent Herald editor. Contact him at bgarrett@ihoneida.com. Follow him on Twitter, @benwgarrett.