WYSO’s Recovery Stories series brings you conversations from the heart of Dayton’s opioid crisis. Today, we hear a conversation between Dustin Aubry and Bob Lloyd.

They first met at a meeting of the Dayton support group Families of Addicts or FOA. Aubry is in recovery from longterm addiction, and Lloyd’s adult son has an active opioid addiction.

Despite their more than 20-year age difference, Aubry and Lloyd have become close friends and allies in the struggle for recovery.

Listen to the conversation below. What follows is a transcript of their conversation, edited for length and clarity.

Aubry: My name is Dustin Aubry. I live in Fairborn, Ohio. I’m happily married, I have three kids. I’m a recovering addict in recovery. I’ve been clean since April 11 of last year.

Photo: Maddie McGarvey

Lloyd: My name’s Bob Lloyd. I live in Dayton, Ohio. I’m a roofer. I have a boy that’s in active addiction now that I really worry about all the time. We tried to get him help. He keeps dodging me. I even went to an assessment with him to make sure he went. I stayed in the waiting room when they took him in the back and I was there for him. He’s just got to want it. That’s the thing, people have to want it. They have to be tired of being tired in addiction, is what I’ve learned from it. You just hope and pray every day he comes over and says, dad, I’m ready. Until then there’s not much I can do. That’s the bad part is you feel helpless. Either he ODs or gets treatment or he quits. That’s what I worry about. I worry about him overdosing and nobody being there for him. Dustin, what keeps you up at night?

Aubry: I’ve been using since I been 17. I feel like I missed out on a lot of stuff in my twenties just going in and out of jails and prisons. I think about that and I think about the time I wasted. I think about what my life could have been like but talking to Bob, I can just tell he cares and he is just always there for me. We have the same interests, we have the same hobbies, we collect knives, we collect racecars, we collect models.

Lloyd: We watch the same TV shows.

Aubry: Yeah, [the television show] Street Outlaws.

Lloyd: That’s what we talk about a lot is Street Outlaws. And it is like a father-son relationship. We’re good buddies, you know?

Aubry: Being an addict, it’s hard to find somebody that will trust you and actually want to be your friend. And it ain’t as easy as you think, like, people being accepting like that.

Photo: Maddie McGarvey

Lloyd: See I kind of flip-flopped. I was kinda down on drugs and stuff. I was one of them guys, how many times do we bring them back with the Narcan or whatever? And then I started understanding more through going to FOA. And then I listened to the people and listened to their stories. Some of them just break your heart, you know, there’s a lot of grandparents raising grandkids now because their mothers and fathers are all messed up. My boy come, we got him to actually come to one FOA meeting — I’ve been trying to get him to come for a couple of years — and him and Dustin talked a lot and he told him a lot of what he went through.

Aubry: It basically comes down to, unless you want it, you’re not going to change. I’ve been to 13, 14 rehabs before I finally got it. The one thing is is never be a quitter and never be scared to ask for help. That’s one thing that keeps me thriving. I don’t want to let nobody down no more. I want them to be like, you know, Dustin was a good dude. He’d a gave his shirt off his back to anybody. He might have messed up but he did change. I’m part of the society, I’m not a menace no more, I’m not committing crimes. I go to work every day, I cut my grass, I take care of my house, paying bills. I never worried about that stuff before.

Photo: Maddie McGarvey

Lloyd: Dustin’s like I would want my son to be. I would want my son to do the things that I do with him. I know he’s a good hardworking family guy. I know he takes care of his business and I respect that. I want him to stay clean. That’s the main thing: stay clean. Stay with your family. Be there. Be there for your family.

Aubry: And I love you man.

Lloyd: I love you, too, dude.

More About WYSO’s Recovery Stories

This story is part of WYSO’s Recovery Stories series.

The series was produced by Jess Mador, with assistance from WYSO Community Voices producer Jocelyn Robinson. Original photos by Maddie McGarvey.

Additional project digital support from 100 Days in Appalachia.

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This article was originally published by 100 Days in Appalachia, a nonprofit, collaborative newsroom telling the complex stories of the region that deserve to be heard. Sign up for their weekly newsletter here.