How incarceration became a second chance at changing a story of addiction into a story of hope, and connection.
Meet Vik Chopra, our third storyteller for the I KNOW LONELY Project. Vik shares his journey with addiction that led to the loneliest and darkest place of his life. He recounts how his story begins as a straight-A student in high school to experiencing a successful career in his early twenties and then eventually becoming someone he couldn’t recognize in the mirror. Being trapped in a cycle of opioid and meth addition eventually led to crime as a way of survival. When Vik was arrested and charged with 26 felonies, he decided this was a chance to change how his story ends.
Vik did change his story. What could have ended in tragedy is now a story of hope, connection, and triumph. Today, Vik is a filmmaker and co-founder of a passion project where he works to shift the collective consciousness from intolerance to redemption by humanizing the unincarcerated.
And this is his story.
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“It’s all small choices. Every day you are presented with a series of choices. You can make the decision one way or the other, but sooner or later, those start stacking up. Those start leading you down a certain path,” Vik Chopra says.
Born in Seattle in 1981, Vik was a good kid and successful student, “pretty much the stereotypical Indian overachiever.” Vik made straight A’s, won the spelling bee in the fourth grade, and was president of his elementary school. In high school, he joined all the extracurriculars, was an honor student and in honor society, the ASB senior class rep, and president of the multicultural club. “I was a natural helper. That was very much my thing, just being involved. Involved in school and in academics… everything.”
SHOWNOTES & RESOURCES
Connect with Vik: Unincarcerated Productions
Book mentioned by Luke: The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
Addiction and recovery support for a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (available in English and Spanish): Recovery.Org
Also available by calling the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline: 1-800-662-4357
Suicide prevention and mental health organization for at risk LGBTQ youth: The Trevor Project
Transition support from jail or prison back into the community: Intercept 4
3 WAYS YOU CAN SUPPORT THE I KNOW LONELY PROJECT:
1. Intentionally connect with someone you care about! Who is the first person that comes to your mind right now? Send them a text, give them a phone call, set a time to grab lunch. As Vik’s story shares, connection is vital to our ability to thrive.
2. Rep the I KNOW LONELY merch! The holidays are coming up and what is a better way to share the project with someone you care about by getting some merch from the I Know Lonely collection under the tree. From cozy hoodies and sweatshirts to sticker packs or hats, you can shop the full collection here.
3. Become a monthly donor! We know there are so many more stories like Vik’s that need to be told. Stories that share their own experiences through topics like anxiety and depression, addiction, mental health struggles, incarceration, losing loved one to suicide… everybody has a story worth telling. And you can help us share these stories with the world by supporting the I Know Lonely Project. Even the smallest gifts can make an impact. Give here!
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