Austin Greene, 27, said that he started taking hard drugs when he was just 13, and they took over his life.
However, after the birth of his daughter, who’s now 8 years old, he knew he had to make a change in order to give her the best life he could.
“I looked like I was moments from death,” Austin from Greenfield, Ohio, said. “It was destroying my daughter’s heart.”
Austin’s addiction started when he began drinking and smoking marijuana at the age of 11, as there was a culture of drugs with young people where he grew up in Leesburg, Ohio.
He was then introduced to harder substances like crystal meth and heroin as a teenager.
In August 2013, Austin’s grandfather was diagnosed with cancer and was prescribed pain relief opiates. Austin convinced his grandfather to share the opiates with him, to help with an abscessed tooth.
After his grandfather died, Austin, who’s a photographer, started feeling withdrawal symptoms—cold sweats, insomnia, and restless leg—for the first time.
“I felt like I could have been more focused on spending the remainder of his time with him, rather than being preoccupied with getting high,” Austin said. “I was miserable and uncomfortable in my own skin. I felt as if I was dying.”
On Sept. 16, 2013, Austin’s daughter was born. Although he was smitten by her, unfortunately his addiction meant he lost custody over her when she was 6.
“The thought of my daughter losing me forever is what really ate me up inside,” he said. “I was beginning to neglect my daughter after I always said I wouldn’t be the father to let my children down.”
Additionally, the addiction took a toll on Austin’s health in many ways. He was diagnosed with Hepatitis B and C and a severe yeast infection on his spine in February 2019.
“I was hospitalized and wasn’t able to walk for roughly six months. Every penny I got went towards getting drugs for my fix,” Austin recalled. “I was selfish and did whatever I had to do for that day without any regard of how it might make whoever feel.”
In November 2020, he knew he had to make a change, so he started a detox program.
“When I was detoxing, I wanted to leave every day, but once I got the toxins out of my body, I started thinking more clearly,” the father-of-one said. “It was then I started working on understanding as much about addiction that I possibly could.”
He then spent six months in a sober-living facility and has been clean since Dec. 21, 2020.
“When I left I was super nervous, yet optimistic at the same time,” he said.
Before-and-after photos show Austin is now barely recognizable from his former self.
He currently lives with his mother, Jamie Greene, 50, and sees his daughter almost every day of the week.
“She loves to make slime, color, puzzles, and playing outside. I just want people to know that there is always hope, even if it feels like there isn’t,” Austin said.
After his amazing transformation, Austin is doing his best to help others on social media who are suffering from addiction. He also directs them to facilities that can offer them support.
“You’ve just got to believe in yourself and find something that gives you a sense of purpose in life,” he said. “Never give up, and always strive to do the best you can, no matter what!”
Epoch Times Staff contributed to this report.