Dante Downey – Cortez, CO Chapter Lead

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My name is Dante and I am a person in recovery. My journey with recovery began for me at the age of 16 when I walked into my first NA meeting. I can still recall the slow motion feeling, My heart pounding, the slow drip from the coffee pot, and the suffocating fear of what is everyone going to think? What am I doing here? So many racing thoughts and questions. Over time those anxieties began to fade but I felt like I had to hide it from the world. A lot of shame still held me down and kept me away from participating in my own life. Once those feelings started to feel unmanageable, I reached out to a close friend and she put me into contact with Candice Seay! We had a conversation about YPR and hearing her story and how she wanted to take action and make a difference definitely inspired me to want to support my community. I tried to start a chapter in Cortez but at the time my world shifted and it didn’t workout at the time. Throughout a very weird transitional period of my life my recovery was put on the back burner for a while. Through a lot of self-analysis and frequent visits to local mental health facilities it took some time to have the feeling of getting on track with the world. When some stability was found I heard that someone started a YPR Chapter in Cortez and I was so happy to hear that one was established! I was fortunate to be able to attend some in person meetings and see it begin to grow. When the pandemic hit and the world didn’t know what was going on I found myself disconnected from everything, the uncertainty in those early days was very paralyzing. Over some time and transitions I was fortunate to have been able to take the lead for the Cortez Chapter! Even to this day the full circle feeling still baffles me in the best way and I am forever grateful. YPR has given me the opportunity to find my voice and to be a part of a community that shows that I don’t have to be ashamed of who I am. YPR is A community that supports me in becoming the person I want to be. Being able to participate in my life again has been the most beautiful thing. I don’t believe I would have been able to find parts of myself without YPR and the love and support of our southwest family. Love changes everything!

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