Recovery Nation: Couple starts clothing line to help & encourage addicts
It all starts with a pink plastic bag, because Jeremy Ridgely feels that color will make people more excited when they see it in their mailbox.
Inside could be a hoodie, a t-shirt, maybe a hat, all bearing the logo 'Recovery Nation' and an inspirational quote on the back. Recovery Nation apparel is shipped from Ridgely's basement in Zanesville, bringing a message of hope to all corners of the U.S.
The clothing line is the brainchild of Ridgely and his wife Ember. As recovering heroin and meth addicts, both are well-aware of how far some inspiration can go in the journey to getting clean.
"I have people tell me all the time, you don't look like someone who used to use heroin. I'm like, well, I don't know what you expect that to look like, but we're the same," Jeremy Ridgely said.
The pair hit rock bottom separately. Ember almost lost her two daughters to Children's Services. Jeremy overdosed, then crashed his car, and wound up face down in an intersection.
"I had to have an event that triggered my brain to want to do better."
Ember Ridgely says she went through withdrawal cold turkey on her mother's couch because, "I knew that my kids were worth doing that for."
When they got sober, they got together, and hatched a multi-faceted plan to help other people accomplish what they accomplished. But why clothing?
"It'll bring people together and it'll get people talking about recovery. We did that and it worked really well," Jeremy said. "Of course, being the recovering drug addicts that we are, we're like, yeah, let's start a business!"
Now they're in the business of bonding and removing stigmas.
"I've received so many messages from people that were like, 'I was wearing your shirt, the person behind me read the quote on the back and we just ended up talking for hours,'" Ember said.
Some of the quotes on the clothing include, 'Addicted to Recovery', 'Sobriety is Sexy', and 'Don't be ashamed of your story. It will Inspire Others'.
The mission is much more than shirts and hats. Ember is a constant presence on social media, posting memes, hosting Facebook Lives, and constantly encouraging and engaging recovering addicts through her page.
They have another page ,#RecoveryRocks, dedicated to the rocks Ember and friends hide in plain sight wherever they travel. The rocks are painted with inspirational quotes and offer a return address. Finders are encouraged to post of a picture of the rock to the page, and then re-hide it.
"It's just another way of spreading happiness, but also awareness," Ember said.
Jeremy and Ember Ridgely are stuffing a lot of ideas into an effort that shows us it takes a nation to help addicts recover.
"How can we help our community, how can we make changes and how can we save lives? That's the mission then and that is the mission now".