Lewis Blanche was inspired to help others after a sober mentor guided him on a path to recovery.
Lewis Blanche’s rock bottom was not the day in 2009 when he almost blew himself up cooking meth. That time, he ended up in the hospital being treated with opioids, but quickly returned to using street drugs. It wasn’t until a year later, on March 4, 2010, that Blanche vowed to get serious about sobriety.
“I was living out of my car. I was riding around making meth. It was midnight, and I had to pull over at a McDonald’s because I hadn’t slept for a month,” Blanche told The Advocate. “A Baton Rouge sheriff’s deputy saw me, and he realized what was going on, so he made me get out of my car and take my clothes off. They were scrubbing me with a brush from a fire engine because they were worried about contamination from the meth lab. All this was happening while people were coming in and getting their coffee… it was absolutely horrible… but it was also the date I got sober.”
At that point, Blanche’s addiction to meth and opioids had taken everything he had. Despite using drugs since his teen years, Blanche went to law school and ran a successful practice for a time.
“I decided to open my own firm. Things went well at first, and it was easy to get clients with my dad being a lawyer,” he said. “But the pressure to be right, to run a law practice… that made me start dabbling with opioids again. This time it was OxyContin. I was buying prescriptions from people who were selling them.”
In 2005 he had to give up his law license when his addiction got out of control. That, he said, sent him “off to the races.”
However, after being scrubbed down in the McDonald’s parking lot, Blanche connected with a sober mentor who was able to set him on a path to recovery.
“He picked me up and said, ‘I need two things from you: wake up every day and find someone to do something for, without expecting anything in return, and when anyone asks you to do anything here for the first year, your response needs to be OK.’ The idea of me saying OK put an end to the most corrosive element in my life: me trying to control everything.”
After maintaining his sobriety, Blanche didn’t return to practicing law, but decided to help others find recovery as well. Today he runs three sober homes and is a partner in a detox center. He says that learning to give up control and focus on recovery has changed his life.
“I started floating down the stream of life instead of swimming upstream—and it’s changed everything,” he said.
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