PORTLAND, Ore. — At 31-years-old, Danny Welch is trying to get his life back on track.
"In my early 20s I was doing a lot of drinking and party drugs and I got introduced to Oxy and me and my friends would snort oxy and drink and I really enjoyed the effects of that,” Welch said. “I was just around heroin and I had a couple friends that were doing it, but I wasn't interested. One night, I was drunk and I bought the heroin and I smoked it."
For the better part of a decade, drugs and alcohol were all he wanted, until September 2016. That month, his son was born. He tried as best he could to get clean but says 4 months was the longest he could hold off.
Then, when he was at a rehab center in Salem, he heard about Blanchet Farm- a 62 acre clean and sober transitional living program. The men must be able to perform physical work like gardening, cooking, caring for animals, woodworking or maintenance.
Welch first started with the pigs.
"It's given me accountability that I need," he said. "You have this responsibility to take care of them. They rely on you for food, water and a clean bed to lay in. They're social creatures too. If you work with the pigs, they want you to get in there."
He worked with the pigs for about 3 months, then moved to bigger things and has now helped build 5 tiny houses designated for a church in McMinnville.
The houses give him a sense of accomplishment.
"I've hardly swung a hammer before,” he said. “So, I got here, and I knew nothing, but I was trained and now I'm kinda in charge of this project."
Welch has spent 15 months on the farm building trust with the pigs, 5 tiny houses and a better relationship with his son.
"I get to see him all the time, he knows who his dad is. He'll run up to me and hug me and calls me daddy."
Welch's message to those struggling with addiction, never give up hope.