Chemical Health Graduate Johnnie Shares His Story of Success in Recovery
One of 13 children, Johnnie grew up in Mississippi. Childhood was not easy for him. When he was 12 years old, he sustained a traumatic brain injury after being accidently hit in the head with an ax. The injury left him with permanent short-term memory issues. Johnnie was placed in a special education program, but he only completed the sixth grade.
Johnnie started drinking at a very young age. When he was six years old, he used to steal his father’s liquor. He drank from then on.
When he was 18, Johnnie moved to Chicago, and then later Detroit, where he lived for several years. He drank heavily during this time but never considered that he had a problem.
Johnnie moved to Minneapolis 16 years ago. He found work in construction, and he fell in love with a woman who already had children, whom Johnnie helped raise.
Four years ago, Johnnie was approached by an undercover police officer and asked to sell him drugs. Johnnie did not have any, but he arranged for the police officer to buy drugs from someone else. Johnnie was arrested and charged with drug possession. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to seven years probation.
For the first time ever, Johnnie learned that alcoholism is a disease. As part of his conviction, he was court ordered to enter a substance abuse treatment program. He was referred to Vinland Center because of his traumatic brain injury.
Unfortunately, Johnnie did not stay sober the first time he attended Vinland.
“The first time, I was not serious. The second time, I did anything I was asked to do,” Johnnie said. “Vinland is a good program, but it’s up to you to accept the tools.”
Johnnie completed his second round of treatment at Vinland two years ago, and he has remained sober since then. After treatment, he moved into an assisted living house owned by Sojourn in a suburb of Minneapolis.
Now that he’s sober, Johnnie describes his life as “a whole big turnaround.” He gets along better with other people, including his mother and girlfriend. He enjoys living in the assisted living house, where he volunteers to help the less-mobile residents.
Due to his success in recovery, Johnnie was granted early discharge from his probation earlier this year.
“In recovery, you get to make yourself a better person than you were before. Being at Vinland really helped me.”