Fargo man recovering from addiction now working to help others in drug court
A recovering addict is working to give back after staying sober for four years. He credits Cass County's drug court and is now working to spread awareness about the program during National Drug Court Month.
FARGO, N.D. — It was a long road for Austin Lancaster. WDAY News first introduced viewers to him in 2019 as he graduated the one year-drug court program. His methamphetamine addiction sent him in and out of jail for about five years of his life.
Lancaster is now four years sober.
"It just feels weird to be on this side of not being in trouble all the time," he said.
He was recently hired to work in peer support at Freedom Through Recovery, helping people who want to put substance abuse in the past. He also still goes to drug court every Thursday as a visitor, continuing to help people start their recovery journeys.
"(It) gets me to full circle," he said.
Lancaster met Andrew Hoye when he started drug court to recover from alcoholism.
"Yeah, he's my sponsor," Hoye said. "So, if I ever want to use, I call him and he'll say, 'Oh, you really want to do that?'"
Hoye said he started drinking back in the '70s.
"The cops would give you a ride home back then," Hoye recalled. "Now, it's not that way."
Getting arrested for driving under the influence yet again last summer, Hoye's sister-in-law talked him into trying drug court. It is often described as a tough-love program based on independence and accountability. Hoye is still in the program and is now eight months sober — a new record for him.
"Because I've been to treatment before, and it's usually two, three months, so you just kind of wing it and get through it," Hoye said. "But going a whole year, you kind of learn how to stay sober."
The two men have a sizable age gap, but they have one thing in common. It's something they say motivates them to sobriety.
"I got an 18-year-old kid," Hoye said. "You get in enough trouble, you don't get to see him all the time, and you're in jail, you're in and out of trouble."
"We're pretty good," Hoye added when asked about his relationship to his child. "I actually see him every weekend."
Lancaster recently got his own bundle of joy, his now 2-year-old son, Talon.
"I know that I can't go back to that life, because if I do, what's it going to show him?" Lancaster said.
They both say recovery is a battle they will always fight, but through helping each other, they can keep addiction in the past.