Giving and receiving: Local couple moves forward

Jeffery Creekbaum and Charlene Huffman.

Jeffery Creekbaum said he had a lot of help when he was struggling with drug addiction about a year-and-a-half ago.

Creekbaum recalls visiting an old friend with his fiancee, Charlene Huffman, a while back just to catch up and hang out for the day.

“We just wanted to see them,” Creekbaum said.

The couple’s friends were not sober and Creekbaum remembers being vividly told to leave the premises immediately.

“He said, “Aren’t you clean?’” Creekbaum said. “I said, ‘Yeah.’”

Without hesitation, Creekbaum said his friend replied with a resounding response that one would not normally hear from a fellow companion.

“He goes ‘get out of here, we’re not clean,’” Creekbaum said. “We haven’t seen him since. You have to get rid of your old life and start over. That’s what we did.”

Creekbaum said he’s been in recovery for 17 months, while Huffman’s sobriety is 14 months and counting. Both of them owe their new path to friends and 14Forward in Marysville.

Creekbaum said 14Forward will pay a person’s rent for up to six months during the transition phase of addiction to sobriety.

Once someone has cleared that initial hurdle a whole new world opens up. Creekbaum said he’s in school, hoping to become a substance abuse counselor. Huffman is currently a stay-at-home mom raising the couple’s two-month-old baby.

Huffman said living on the streets is hard and in many ways can lead to addiction.

“To keep your mind off being on the streets you want to do drugs,” Huffman said. “You do drugs to stay warm, you do drugs to keep your mind off things. You do drugs to not eat when you don’t have the money to eat.”

14Forward acts as an intermediary to help a person gain a stable life again, Huffman said.

“14Forward is able to house you and it’s next to the mission where you can go eat everyday,” Huffman said.

Huffman said she also received assistance from the Salvation Army Depot Family Crisis Center because at the time when she was transitioning to clean and sober life she was pregnant and needed assistance.

“I had nowhere to go,’ Huffman said. “They housed me and hooked me up with a lot of services.”

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