- Friends & Family
Submitted by: Susanne Johnson
I had psychology major in college. I was very active in sports at college and my advisor and I talked about doing sports psychology. Football was my sports in college, even I played also baseball and basketball in high school as well. I love learning about the brain and how people think. I thought it was a very interesting field. I love to learn what makes people turn.
I met with a former school friend of mine and he offered me a job in the addiction field. I had no idea about all this. All I knew was from our family. My dad’s dad struggled with addiction and passed away from the direct results of his alcoholism as I was five years old. His liver shut down. He didn’t drink publicly in front of us grandkids, but I remember clearly how my nana was always hiding the alcohol behind the milk. There are no secrets in families, even if the children are small, they notice and remember more than adults think. Other than him nobody in my family had any issues and I was raised in a pretty strict background. I never noticed any behavior difference in my granddad, as I believe he didn’t drink when the grandkids were around. My father did see it though as he grew up. He and his brother had to sit in the car with my nana, waiting for granddad coming out of the bar. It was very rough emotional on them as well as financial. My nana had to work hard to be able to support the family. I definitely believe that being raised like this had a huge impact in my father’s decision to stay away from alcohol and to raise us accordingly. He still talks about it until this day and it clearly shows, how one person struggling with addiction can impact the family for generations.
Sports are still a big part of my daily life. I exercise in some shape or form on six days a week. Not only it keeps my body healthy and fit, it helps tremendously with mental focus as well. I have an older and a younger brother, none of them had a problem either. It’s not, that I never drank. I had drinks in college, but it wasn’t my thing. Also I knew what it had done to my family and I always kept this in mind. It was always a real turnoff for me to see people impaired and how they reacted and behaved while intoxicated. I also saw it destroy a lot of friendships and relationships. My friends that are in a relationship and do drink seem to have always arguments with their partners when drinking. It’s usually about small stuff you would never argue about, so I see how it affects relationships. That’s why I decided to stay away. But I feel empathy for those who are affected by the disease and can’t just stop it anymore, and I’m glad to work in this field now helping others to improve their life.