September is National Recovery Month and it’s meant to bring awareness about substance use, mental disorders and how treatments allow people to live healthy and rewarding lives.

After years of struggling with addiction, one man knew it was time for a change.

Robert Grafsgard is a business owner. He owns Stratosphere, a new vape shop in Minot.

Something you might not know about him is that he previously suffered from addiction.

He was a hitchhiker for almost a decade and that’s when he started using drugs.

After getting into legal trouble in Colorado, Grafsgard knew it was time for a change.

“I was sentenced to two years in a halfway house. I spent 19 months there. I got out, shortly before I got out, I got in touch with my now wife, who I’ve known for 16 years. I called her up and ‘Hey, are you aware of the fact that I’ve been in love with you for over a decade?’ She said loves a strong word and I said so we’re gonna find out,” said Grafsgard.

He moved back to Minot and his dad became sick.

Shortly after his dad passed away, he proposed, got a car and bought a house.

He’s been sober from meth for almost five years and more than two years from other drugs and alcohol.

“I made the choice. And a lot of people ask me how hard of a choice was that and it wasn’t. It was the easiest choice I’ve ever made. The hard part was what I had to put myself through to have to make that decision,” he said.

Grafsgard met a businessman who came in every day to the convenience store he worked at and they ended up getting to know each other.

They talked about his recovery and the man asked him what he wanted to do and helped start his business.

“This gentleman barely knew me but there was something that I had changed about myself that struck him. And now, he didn’t invest in this, he invested in me,” said Grafsgard.

Grafsgard attributes most of his success to becoming clean.

He also makes 3D prints and even made medical PPE last year at the start of the pandemic. He took pictures of people on their porches to fund the 3D printing materials.

Grafsgard says he has a large social media following and people reach out to him for help with their own recovery journeys.

“I don’t claim to know the secret to recovery cause everybody’s journey is different and I’m on my own journey. But if there’s parts of my journey that can help people on theirs, then it’s free. It is all theirs, I’m an open book. I will tell anybody anything that they wanna know about my recovery journey even the bad stuff, even if it’s embarrassing,” he said.

He believes if you stay positive and surround yourself with good people, you can get through anything.