An Appearance on Netflix's Recovery Boys Documentary Allows BHS Alumnua Kelsey Fogg to Share Her Own Story of Recovery

By Trina Runner on July 08, 2018 via

When Kelsey Fogg walked across the stage at the 2011 Bridgeport High School graduation, she was already drinking and smoking marijuana.  She had no idea, however, the journey the next seven years would take her on and that she would be making a cameo in a documentary directed by Elaine McMillion Sheldon.  
Sheldon is well known for her Oscar-award nominated documentary, Heroin(e), in which she showcased the heroin epidemic in Huntington, West Virginia, and three women who are working to change the cycle of addiction.  Her most recent release, Recovery Boys, gives a close-up view of four young men as they go through the recovery process at Jacob’s Ladder, a recovery center in Preston County, West Virginia.
Recovery Boys was released on Netflix on June 29 and had its big screen debut on July 6 in Morgantown, the current home of two of the film’s subjects.  Fogg, who has now been clean for nearly two years, made an appearance in one scene in the movie, but is using the opportunity to share her story to raise awareness of the issues of addiction for her hometown.
“I was in the scene where Rush was getting a tattoo,” said Fogg. “We are still friends and he is doing really well in his recovery. I am actively working the 12-step program and the Recovery Boys story brings the process of recovery to light and demonstrates both the struggles and the triumphs of living a life free of drugs.”
For Fogg, using pills was her first drug of choice right out of high school.  She eventually started using heroin and continued to use it daily for nearly five years. During that time, she sought help, but continued to use, even once she found out she was pregnant.
“I thank God that my daughter was born with no problems,” said Fogg. “During my pregnancy, I was using marijuana, cigarettes, heroin, and methadone.  It was a horrible time and I am grateful that she was not negatively affected by my actions.”
Fogg thought her daughter, Braxton, now three, would fix her.  The opposite actually occurred, sending Fogg into a spiral of drug use, detox attempts, and challenges with her family and friends.
“I still have a lot of my closest friends,” she said.  “But during the time I was using, I lost a lot of my close relationships.  People didn’t know what to do, they felt helpless and frustrated and I am still working to rebuild those relationships.”
For four months in 2016, Fogg was running the streets, staying with friends, and using regularly. She had attempted detox and rehabilitation twice at that point, to no avail. In September of that year, she overdosed at home and Narcan was used to bring her back.  That was a pivotal point which led to her recovery process, now nearing its second year.
After her overdose, which shook her family to its core, Fogg sought treatment through a 28-day treatment facility, spent six months with the New Beginnings program in Fairmont and then lived in a Sober Living Home in Morgantown.  
“Each of the treatment options helped lay the foundation for recovery,” she said.  “It was the active participation in a twelve-step program, however, that has allowed me to truly heal.  Attending meetings, talking to others, writing down the process, and reaching out to others has been instrumental to me staying clean.”
The seven years since she graduated from BHS have been a challenge.  Her drug use, subsequent arrest, making amends to those she hurt, and the difficult journey to recovery have all helped shape her life.  She now sees that those events happened for a reason and she wants to use that platform to help others, namely teens.
“When I was in school, we were told, ‘Don’t do drugs’ or ‘Don’t drink and drive,’ she said.  “We didn’t hear personal stories of people just like us who struggled with these things.”
“I want to use my experience to share my story with others, to make it relevant and to show them that addiction does not discriminate,” said Fogg.  “Many people view drug addicts as those who are homeless or from bad families, but I have grown up with a wonderful family, had a great education, a supportive community, and was still using.  I want to be the face of an addict that destigmatizes getting help and encourages young people to truly consider the circumstances of their actions.”
Currently, Fogg is preparing to start classes at Pierpont Community College.  She is successfully co-parenting her daughter with her ex, who is also now clean.  She is building trust with her family and friends and is doing the work necessary to remain clean.
“It took years of destructive behavior to get me here and it will take years to build my life back,” said Fogg.  “My family has been my rock and living on my own for the last year has strengthened my confidence and independence.  I am raising a wonderful daughter and concentrating on healing fully.”
Her brief film debut gave her an outlet to speak out about her own journey and to help promote a film that shows a realistic view of the recovery process.  
“The film gives a clear view of the struggles of detox, recovery and maintaining sobriety,” she said. “I think it will open the eyes of people who may not quite understand the addict’s recovery process and the setbacks that can occur.”
Fogg shared her story at the International Overdose Awareness Day last year in Clarksburg and plans to continue educating others in order to raise awareness of the disease of addiction and how honesty, empathy, and compassion can help heal those affected.
“I am learning to use this experience in a positive way, to become a productive member of society again and to gain a new perspective on my journey, my faith, my family and friends and my potential,” she said.  “I want to be a story of resilience for my daughter and to inspire her to make good choices.  I want to give hope to those who have children and show them how staying clean has allowed me to have a wonderful relationship with my daughter and love her unconditionally because I love who I am today.” 

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