How living with opioid addiction helped a NH man aid others' battles

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Eric Spofford never graduated high school. he was too wrapped up in drugs.

He now runs 11 treatment centers with 200 beds in New Hampshire and his new book is a blueprint on how to get clean.

Eric Spofford spent most of his teenage years dealing and doing drugs. He struggled with heroin, homelessness and was incarcerated.

"I overdosed and ended up on life support five times," Spofford said. "I mean, my family and friends thought I was a dead man walking."

But after a 12-step program and a mentor saved his life, he began helping others through volunteer outreach.

In 2008, he opened the state's first sober living home for men. It had 11 beds. Granite Recovery Centers now helps 2,000 addicts a year.

"I know how hard it is to make that phone call and ask for help," Spofford said.

Now sober for 12 years and the father of a young son, the 34-year-old CEO is quietly helping to lead the front lines in the battle against opioid addiction in New England. He hopes to reach more addicts through his new book Real People, Real Recovery.

Part of recovering from addiction is actually going out into the world and setting right every wrong that we've ever made and I mean most normal people without addiction don't live like that and for me, the list was about 300 people. That was everyone I'd ever hurt," Spofford explained.

It was Spofford's personal story that motivated Mike Mahan, of Haverhill, Massachusetts to get clean.

"This is a guy with a real answer. You know, he's been there. He knows what he's talking about and I looked where he is now. He's successful, he's got a full life and I wanted that," Mahan said.

Spofford says many of his clients -- like Mahan -- have been able to easily supply their addictions because Lawrence, Mass. and Manchester, N.H. are two major drug distribution hubs. He thinks the solutions lie in both police work and prevention programs in schools.

"We need to get in there and tell're growing up in the most addicted time that this world has ever seen," he said.

To date, Granite Recovery Centers has helped thousands of addicts and their families. the book hit Amazon and Barnes and Noble on Tuesday.