After decades of addiction, Oklahoma City man decides to live sober

After decades of succumbing to addiction, an Oklahoma City man recently made the decision to live a sober life. Forrest Coin, 40, knows it's not going to be easy.
by Andrew Knittle Published: March 12, 2012

Forrest Coin had been drinking and drugging for decades before he decided to give it up a few weeks ago.

Through the years, addiction to alcohol, pills and “just about anything I could get my hands on” landed him in drug treatment programs five times with no success.

Coin started drinking as a teen, eventually working his way up to intravenous drug use. Alcoholism, he said, runs in his family, and “alcohol always seemed to be involved.”

“I sought help after an overdose in 2003, but that didn't take,” he said. “It was a short-term program at a hospital, but I never followed up.”

At 40, Coin's addiction has cost him a lot through the years.

His marriage is headed for divorce, and he says his relationship with his daughter and stepson is “stressed because of trust issues.”

During the past decade, like so many other Oklahomans, Coin had become addicted to opiate pain medications.

“I was bad,” he said. “I knew I was going to end up either dead, in jail or in an institution.”

Then, things got better ... after nearly three decades of substance abuse.

Coin believes a 12-step program is shaping up to be his salvation.

Clean for roughly three months — his longest stretch of sobriety since he was a teen — the longtime user credits the process of “working the steps” for his success.

“I just started listening to my doctor and my therapist,” Coin said.

“I just grew tired of being the way I was. Through therapy, I've learned to face my life and what's happened to me in the past.”

Coin said he believes events and circumstances from his childhood have contributed to his addiction, making it worse as he grew older.

Dealing with past

Dr. Charles Shaw has been treating Coin during his sobriety. The doctor runs a small outpatient drug treatment center in Oklahoma City and also works for a major hospital doing the same thing.

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by Andrew Knittle
Investigative Reporter
Andrew Knittle has covered state water issues, tribal concerns and major criminal proceedings during his career as an Oklahoma journalist. He has won reporting awards from the state's Associated Press bureau and prides himself on finding a real...
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