Meet Medhani Vaughn, a father, small business owner, a community advocate, a man with lived experience, a recovery hero.
In Medhani’s long-term recovery journey, he seeks to learn more about and foster healthy sources of growth. “I’m addicted to growth. Growth can either be malignant, like a cancer, or lifegiving.” His exploration of healthy and beautiful sources of growth has led him to build strong connections with himself, loved ones, the environment, his past, and his future. Medhani takes pride in the way his son grows in creativity and self-expression. He observes the way our natural environment resiliently grows through various seasons and conditions. He vulnerably shares his story in hopes that someone who feels alone, or lost, might relate and trust in the support of others.
His passion for supporting the recovery community has an important focus on youth.
“It is massively important to support our youth and break the cycle.”
He has transformed the challenges of his past as a vessel to build bridges with at-risk youth. This passion is evident in the way he speaks about his own son and goes out of his way to foster connections with young people in Jefferson County. “I aim to be a gentle mentor to youth.”
Medhani’s approach to supporting the recovery community comes from a place of pause. He begins by asking the question "what do you need in this moment?". Whether it be someone to listen, take action, provide solutions, or simply be there. This essential question allows Medhani to respond in an effective and impactful way—while maximizing his own energy (as outreach surely takes a toll on an individual) and honoring the community members he interacts with. “Recovery is really, really difficult.” But by simply showing up, listening to what someone needs in that moment, Medhani dignifies his neighbors, the ones who are often “othered” and pushed away from society, and welcomes them into relationship. “I’ve been there, I know what it’s like,” shared Medhani. Through this approach, he embodies what it means to be a recovery hero.
When asked "what recovery means to you?”, Medhani responded that “recovery is connectedness, with others, oneself, community, the environment, and one’s roots.” Through addiction, one often disconnects. By practicing self-reflection, compassion, and forgiveness, one can begin the process of reconnecting. That connection then promotes a kind of growth that leads to a thriving lifestyle.