- Friends & Family
Submitted by: Susanne Johnson
John is in recovery from drug addiction. He considers himself a late bloomer because he only started using at age 24. Despite the influence of some of his friends, he survived his high school and college years without falling into addiction. But, by age 24 he had met his first boyfriend and he introduced John to drugs. “I was a polished addict for a long time with a great corporate America career,”, he says. “I was holding it together and many people around me had no idea that I was struggling with addiction.”
His world started to crumble. His life became unmanageable and knowing it would result in problems very quickly, he quit his job, but unfortunately focused solely on his drug use. The drugs were strongly present, but the boyfriend no longer there. The relationship didn’t last; the drugs did. Josh was a meth addict, a drug that is very prevalent in his community.
It took him about three years to realize that his addiction had shifted from the point that he thought he controlled it to the point that it controlled him. Even then, he was not ready to do anything about it; the drugs were still somehow working for him at that point. It took him until he was about 29 years old to realize that his entire life was completely controlled by drugs.
The beginning of his new future began when he was busted for his drug use. When it happened, his mom had keys to his home and happened to walk in on him while using drugs. She turned around and left and John expected never to hear anything about it, since she was using pain pills herself and those secrets were never a point to be discussed within the family. But instead of holding on in quietness, the intervention followed and John’s path to wellness began. On one hand, John was hoping not to hear anything about this incident, but on the other hand, he was hoping that something would happen because he was already so miserable in his life.
Around the time he turned 30 years old, his family gathered for a drug intervention for him. His family used a therapist who had personal experience with addiction. John welcomed the intervention with relief.
At that time, he didn’t know how to ask for help. His drug of choice was such a stereotypically “bad” drug that he didn’t feel comfortable reaching out for help. He believes if it had been pills or alcohol, he may would have reached out, but he feared the stigma associated with methamphetamines too much to ask for help.
John always had an excellent relationship with his family. Eventually his family set a boundary and stated that they would no longer support him in his addiction anymore, and that they would only support his recovery. His parents were the first to recognize that a lot of good came out of it, and finally John also sees it himself.
“As a family, we now do things in a much healthier way. Our relationship is more transparent and we support each other,” states John.
Sadly, John’s mom is still addicted to pills. She is not necessarily in recovery as most would define it, but she stopped using her drug a while back. She found her own recovery through family support groups that she attended. John got in trouble with his addiction, but the entire family benefitted from the recovery process and became healthier.
When John entered treatment, it took him a three different treatment centers until he found what he needed in Memphis, TN. There, he was finally able and ready to talk about some of his core issues; the same ones that made him relapse again and again in the past.
Later on, John started to work in the field of addiction treatment, because he wanted to do something that kept him strongly connected to his recovery. When he began work in recovery, he had felt burned out in corporate America and this change of work environment has been richly rewarding.
He started at the bottom of a treatment center, forgetting all about his college degrees in finance, and worked his way up. Today he is director of admissions and client services after four years of finding his way. Life is good!
“If I had settled for my biggest dream when I got to it in recovery, I would have sold myself really short. There is so much more than I have ever imagined and it happened incrementally. Once you get the momentum of a life well lived, it really picks up. The happiness and the amount of peace I have about who I am today is something I never had in my life before. I don’t regret my addiction at all, but I would never go back there,” John concludes.