Moffat County Locals: Paul Bush overcomes addiction, wants to help others |

Moffat County Locals: Paul Bush overcomes addiction, wants to help others

Paul Bush is a recovering heroin addict who wants to help people overcome addiction.
Noelle Leavitt Riley

If you see Paul Bush walking down the street, take a moment to congratulate him for being almost two years sober.

While living in Northern California, heroin and opioid addiction tugged him away from friends, family and his wife.

After his wife left him, he went to live with his sister, only to find himself kicked out of her house after she found his drugs.

“It took hitting complete rock bottom to get help,” Paul said.

His sister decided to help him find a rehab center where he stayed for two months, working to clean up his life and overcome addiction.

After Paul got out of rehab, he decided to relocate to Craig where family friends live.

“It seemed like a good place for a fresh start,” he said, noting that he works hard to avoid becoming those in the Craig community that have addiction problems. He does, however, try to help addicts who are willing to listen.

He’s a firm believer that after someone goes through the rehab process, they need to move far away from their old stomping grounds to avoid relapse.

Paul’s addiction happened after he hurt his back working as an executive sous-chef at a restaurant in California.

The doctor that helped him manage his pain overprescribed opioids. He later tapped into heroin.

He feels that opioid abuse is a nationwide problem, and he wants to help decrease the epidemic.

In January, he’s going to take online classes, training him how to work with chemical dependency issues so he can “help people recover,” he said.

“I had a friend die in May who was waiting to get into a treatment center,” Paul said, noting that such centers often are full, making it difficult for addicts to address the problem.

Paul now works as a cook at Carelli’s, and he’s grateful that Stephanie and Brett Etzler gave him a chance.

“I had a big gap in my employment because of my back injuries, and they gave me a shot,” Paul said.

“He’s come a long way,” Brett said. “We weren’t sure if we were going to give him a shot. He’s a good chef.”

Brett added that he’s happy they gave him a chance.

Paul mountain bikes and reads on his off time. He and his buddy are planning a 1,500-mile “super loop” mountain bike trip across Colorado next summer.

For now, he’ll keep busy working at Carelli’s and prepping for his upcoming online education.

Contact Noelle Leavitt Riley at 970-875-1790 or Contact Noelle Leavitt Riley at 970-875-1790 or or follow her on Twitter @noelleleavitt.Contact Noelle Leavitt Riley at 970-875-1790 or or follow her on Twitter @noelleleavitt.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Craig and Moffat County make the Craig Press’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User