linda buzick wearing pink shirt standing in front of marvel way sober living apartments

Linda Buzicks Recovery Story – How Acts of Service and Community Living Support Her Sobriety

Linda Buzick lives in a one-bedroom apartment at Marvel Way, her home since the supportive living complex opened its doors in fall 2023. She’s a leader in her home AA group, a weekly attendee of Marvel Way’s meetings, and an active member of the local recovery community. She finds strength and meaning in being of service to others and enjoys spending time with friends, going on short hikes and walks, and reading. She’s looking forward to adopting two kittens, getting out more in her recently-gifted car, and planning community potlucks.

Linda’s life hasn’t always looked this way. She’s struggled with alcohol and gambling addictions for much of her life and has worked through treatment and relapse more than once.

Here’s what she’s learned along the way – and why this time she isn’t going back:

Linda Buzick lives in a one-bedroom apartment at Marvel Way, her home since the supportive living complex opened its doors in fall 2023. She’s a leader in her home AA group, a weekly attendee of Marvel Way’s meetings, and an active member of the local recovery community. She finds strength and meaning in being of service to others and enjoys spending time with friends, going on short hikes and walks, and reading. She’s looking forward to adopting two kittens, getting out more in her recently-gifted car, and planning community potlucks.

Linda’s life hasn’t always looked this way. She’s struggled with alcohol and gambling addictions for much of her life and has worked through treatment and relapse more than once. 

Here’s what she’s learned along the way – and why this time she isn’t going back:

From The Beginning

Linda grew up in Washoe Valley with her mother, father, and 6 siblings. She’s lived in Northern Nevada all her life. Growing up, her home was an alcoholic household and Linda experienced a lot of trauma from a young age. When she first started drinking, she thought she was just having fun. But looking back, Buzick recognizes she was “practicing a lot of bad behavior,” even early on. As she got older, “I ended up getting hooked on gambling, which led me down a pretty dark path,” Linda explains. She stole from her employer and went to prison for 2.5 years. When she got out, she was 52. She never stole again but continued to drink and gamble. She didn’t recognize her addictions.

Linda’s Recovery Story

Linda first acknowledged her addictions in 2007, when she was struggling with mental health issues. She decided to seek help through the Reno Problem Gambling Center. While AA didn’t feel helpful at the time, she benefited a lot from the gambling program. She stayed sober for 7 years. Linda wasn’t working a recovery program and became complacent, which she believes led to her relapse in March 2014. After getting a DUI in March 2018, she tried to stop drinking and gambling again.

In late 2019, Linda entered treatment at The Empowerment Center. Before Marvel Way, a small house with 7 beds stood on the property and – after graduating from treatment at TEC – she worked as House Mom at this small sober living space. She stayed sober for 9 months and moved out in September 2020.

What went wrong? “I was acting as if, doing that whole fake it till you make it thing,” Buzick shares. “I eventually relapsed because there was a lot of stuff left undone and undealt with, which I’m working on now.” In her drinking, she lost her job and, now old enough, began collecting Social Security. She tried going to AA groups, but couldn’t stay sober. After an especially bad relapse, Linda felt ready to make a change. “For the first time in my life I asked someone for help in a non-manipulative way. I said ‘I need help. I don’t know what to do.’ And I actually let them help me. They came and got me and they let me stay with them for 10 days.” From here, she began a program at Vitality in Carson City, followed by a longer program at Crossroads in Reno. She graduated in September 2023 and moved into Marvel Way, where she still lives today.

linda buzick's headshot

On Acts of Service & Living Life Differently

For Linda, “What’s different for me today is that I don’t ever want to go back. It’s no longer just about not drinking or not gambling. For me, it’s about changing my behavior, about no longer lying or manipulating people. It’s about wanting to be useful, which is something I didn’t even think I was capable of.”

She accredits her therapist, as well as role models she’s met through treatment, for the change. She’s still learning, still in therapy, and focusing on her service. She wants to be of use, share her story, and support others on their journeys. Service can mean a lot of things for Linda. It can be helping other members of her 12 Step groups, holding a door open, or sharing a hug. At first, getting used to being a more compassionate and accepting person felt like a bit of a shock to Linda. But she’s proud to say that when asked for support, these days she almost never says no.

Community is very important to Linda. While she admits she’s been a bit of a loner at times, she’s enjoy getting to know her neighbors and the Marvel Way staff. She’s spending more time with community than she ever has anywhere before. Linda’s a co-host of her home AA group, regularly attends meetings at Marvel Way, and has a schedule of other groups she attends each week. She enjoys spending more time in Marvel Way’s common spaces, hanging out with her neighbors, and less at home on her computer. Buzick’s latest project? Organizing monthly potlucks for a local recovery Facebook group – to be hosted at Marvel Way. She explains, “Marvel Way is helping me stay connected in a community way, which is not something I ever thought I would have been capable of doing. It’s easy for me to become complacent, to think I don’t have to go to a meeting every day or stay involved with people. I know the difference between isolation and having some alone time. I like living in an environment where I’m being held accountable, not only in testing, but in the way I interact in the world.”

What’s Next for Linda?

Linda enjoys spending time with friends she’s made through her recovery community, especially when she gets to go for hikes and walks with them. While her health makes longer treks challenging, she’s recently enjoyed trips to the Steamboat Wetlands and Sparks Marina. She loves to be outside and walk barefoot in the grass.

She’s recently been gifted a car and is getting it repaired and ready to go. She’s working through health issues affecting her feet and eyesight, and once she’s healed hopes to spend more time at her favorite quieter places, like White’s Creek and Thomas Creek. She’s already taken computer classes and, after healing from cataract surgery, plans to look for a part-time from-home data entry job.

After a year and a half at Marvel Way, she’s feeling a lot more settled…and is about to adopt two kittens. She notes, “I haven’t had a pet in a very long time. And I feel stable enough now to take that on.”

linda buzick in costume

Linda’s Advice

When we asked Linda to share advice for those newer to recovery, she hesitated. Because she knew, for many years, that she wasn’t really listening to the advice she was given. She’d been told to find her support system, to just stick things out one day at a time, and to find her higher power. But she didn’t.

Until eventually, she says, she felt ready for change. “I reached that point where I’d never want to go back. I never forgot all the stuff that I had learned. And I recognize that I had been choosing to stay stuck. I had been choosing to live in self-pity. I’d been choosing to play the victim. I’d been choosing all those things for a very long time. And it was time to make a different choice.”