Five years sober: OU student reflects on past substance abuse, offers personal help to others

Dylan Williamson is an OU student finishing a pursuit he began eight years ago before addiction derailed him. He’s picking up where he left off but a bit older, more experienced and, he hopes, wiser.

Now 27 years old, the chemical engineering junior came to OU in 2008 after a one-week hospital stay to detox two years of hydrocodone and oxycodone abuse. But as a recovering addict, college may have been the worst place Williamson could have been. The environment allowed him to feed his habit while creating new ones. Like most addicts, he wanted to stop, but he didn’t know where he could go, and he had nobody he felt he could turn to.

By the end of the fall semester, Williamson had traded pills for booze. The problems were apparent in his GPA and were measured in missed lectures, but the real damage he kept to himself. It was not long until pills found their way back into his life — old friends to dull the doubt and discomfort that echoed in his skull.

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