Submitted by: Susanne Johnson
I came to a point where I had no place to live, had no money to pay my bills, and no money to spend. I was just completely addicted to drugs and it was the only thing I could care about.
Before I had enough and made it into recovery, I spent two years homeless in downtown Phoenix, AZ. I was sitting in the middle of the grass one day in winter time and realized that I had absolutely nothing, that nothing in my life was positive, and that I couldn’t go on like that anymore. I got up from my spot in the grass and checked myself into detox for a week, followed by one year of treatment.
Since then, I have developed family and friends from that very same treatment establishment that will last me the rest of my life. I work for the facility today and enjoy being there; everyone feels like my family. Being there and working with others kept me sober. I was a client there for the first 90 days, then I started working for them. Now, I work in the kitchen and love my job.
Not only have I found a new family within my recovery community, my mother texts me every morning that she loves me and that she is proud of me. I talk to all my family—even my ex-wife, and I have a good relationship with my children. I am talking again with my friends who did not use drugs. I’m slowly getting back all those things because of my recovery.
My drug use caused my divorce. I was 23 years old when I got married and the marriage only lasted six years. She got very tired of it. I couldn’t stop and she couldn’t understand it, because she wasn’t an addict. I have four children out of that marriage– all girls, ages 2, 4, 7 and 9. My former wife is very proud of me for my change, and my children seem to be still young enough that they didn’t get it all. I had to hit my personal rock bottom to understand that I needed to do something different this time.
Before, I used almost everything I could get my hands on: heroin, Xanax, methamphetamines, cocaine– it didn’t matter. I was never an IV user though, perhaps that’s why I’m still alive. Now that I am sober, my health has greatly improved.
I’m 30 years old today and I gained 52 (healthy) pounds since I entered recovery. I work out and lift weights every single day except Sundays. I’m in very good shape today. Two years ago I looked as if I had cancer or something terrible; I was barely able to walk a few steps. I was only 122 pounds when I checked into the treatment facility.
In my first 90 days of treatment I got a tattoo on my shoulder of Superman, and that has been my nickname ever since. Everybody calls me “Superman”, and I’m happy to run the Heroes in Recovery 6K run today.
Before all the addiction started, I was a loan officer in the mortgage industry. One day I might get back into that, but for now, the kitchen of the treatment facility is where I need to be. I like to serve the place that rescued my life. This is my family, and the best place I’ve ever been.
My passion today is to help the next guy that comes in—the one who is as bad as I was. Maybe I can say something that can save him, just as some others saved me. Every day, I go to a meeting. I love my workouts, I go to movies, and I do what other people do—but I am sure to stay connected to the program at all times.
I have a sponsor and four sponsees right now. My dream for the future is to own my own gym one day. I want a lot of things right now, but I have to realize that things take time and I have to come back to them at a later time.
If you want something you never had, you have to do something you’ve never done. If you want to get sober, you need to try something new and take suggestions. Give it a little bit of time and it will get better a little bit every day. Sobriety has changed my life; I’m not the same person I was.