LCSNW substance use disorder counselor reflects on his own recovery

by | Sep 18, 2023 | Behavioral Health, Staff Spotlight | 0 comments

September is National Recovery Month. It celebrates the gains made by those in substance use recovery.

Larry Jay Johnson joined LCSNW in March 2022. He is a Behavioral Health Program Supervisor in our Multicultural Community Services (Portland) district. Here he shares his experience in a personal essay. 

The End

My story begins in my mother’s backyard in Portland. Those were the days when I struggled with addiction, eluded my probation officer, and lived in a tent. One day while I was indulging in my addiction, my next door neighbor suddenly jumped over the fence, closely followed by the police.

Right beside my tent, a fight broke out between her and the officers while I was getting high. This filled me with intense fear and paranoia. So I did something I hadn’t done in a long time — I prayed. During that prayer, something inside me shifted, and it changed my life. 

When my neighbor was taken away, I made a decision: I would go to a place called Stay Clean, a culturally specific treatment center. My goal was to figure out how not to go to jail. During my stay, I heard the message of recovery.  I listened to what they said about getting better and it started to make sense. In the last three months of my time there, I found a connection to God, and I began to absorb the teaching of the counselor. 

Upon completion of the treatment, I found the courage to face my parole officer, who had been looking for me for nine months. Understanding that I could go to prison upon facing her, I took God with me and for the first time in my life I witnessed a miracle. I walked in with fear and walked out free. 

My recovery and my connection with God freed me to walk in recovery for the past 27 years, to never have to spend any time in prison, and to gain a new life and career as an Alcohol and Drug Counselor.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention—I also became a college graduate after 44 years of being out of school. Which is a second miracle in my life. 

Larry Jay

Certified Alcohol Drug Counselor II, Certified Recovery Mentor, Bachelor degree


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