Glenn Rice has lived in Portland, Oregon his whole life, and he now resides just a couple of miles from where he was born. But for decades, his various addictions took him down some long and dark roads before he embraced the path of recovery.
Glenn is the youngest of four brothers. He says his ex-Marine father carried a lot of anger and relied on violence and intimidation as a means of controlling his family, not knowing how else to cope. It led to uncertainty and fear being constant companions. Glenn remembers turning to food for comfort when he was just 6, and a pattern of hiding and lying started right then. By 8, he was smoking cigarettes, and by the time he was a teenager, he had already tried huffing glue, taking LSD, and using marijuana. Alcohol was there throughout his teen years, and eventually crack cocaine took his life over. He was only 25.
As time moved on, Glenn would periodically stop misusing substances and relatively calm periods of abstinence would occur. “But I didn’t know how to stay quit,” he says. Negative behaviors led to involvement in the justice system, but he was able to learn a trade as a ceramic tile setter that kept him afloat.
Glenn married in 1990 and had 2 children, but says at times he felt disconnected from his family. There were some positive times and opportunities to travel, but things crashed completely in 2001 when circumstances triggered traumatic events from his past and he started drinking heavily in response. For a while he kept his job alongside his whisky habit, but eventually reality, the thing he feared most, could no longer be denied. Glenn lost everything but realized, “the worst thing you lose is yourself.”
In 2006 Glenn went to intensive outpatient treatment and heard about SMART Recovery from another member of his group. He went to a SMART meeting and connected. He used the ABC tool on his situation and felt like SMART principles and tools were able to answer the questions he had about his life and making changes for the better. He was hooked.
After encouragement from the group leader, Glenn started facilitating SMART meetings. That was seventeen years ago. Five years ago, Glen was named a SMART Regional Coordinator. In the meantime, he has continued his education earning an Associates Degree in Addiction Counseling and a Bachelors in Human Development, and is now a certified counselor. He also takes great pride in managing the SMART Recovery Oregon Facebook page, which has generated 1,500 page followers.
One of the things Glenn likes the most is the fact that, as the facilitator, you are also a member of the group and help yourself as you are helping others. Glenn says this is “the best feeling in the world.” He is a big believer in continuing education and points to the Doc Snipes website as a great resource he has found for his growth and development.
Glenn says he has reconciled with his family and tells an incredible story of his daughter meeting someone who was in recovery who started telling her about his journey, and how he had been given such great help from a SMART Recovery group. It turned out that he was a participant in one of Glenn’s meetings. Glenn says this full circle moment brought him to tears.