Recovery Hero 2.0 Luke Johnson

My recovery has evolved a lot in the past year. Due to a relapse a few years ago, I went on medication-supported recovery. The goal was to stabilize and graduate college, then get off. In 2021, I decided it was time to get off the medication. I successfully stopped for 6 months but decided to go back on it. I will be moving to Florida, and I was recently married in November. Due to the positive stress of all these life changes and less support when I move, I decided MSR could help bolster my recovery and ensure a successful transition. I have learned to be more humble and aggressive with my recovery instead of reactive. Although I did not want to be back on medication, I know it’s possible to get off.

The end of 2020 and 2021 were chaotic. At the end of 2020, I had to decide to euthanize my 6-month-old puppy. We found out our puppy was born with renal dysplasia (his kidneys were too small). We worked with specialists for many months, and after thousands of dollars, he was just too sick. We decided to put him to sleep to keep him comfortable. It was one of the hardest decisions in my life.

Shortly after losing my dog, I met my girlfriend’s family for the first time. I asked her to marry me! For the majority of 2021, we planned a wedding in Dunedin, Florida. Soon after we got engaged, we ended up getting pregnant. The pregnancy was one of the strongest motivators I have ever had in life. It forced my fiancé and I to take inventory of what we want. In June, we decided it would be best to move to Florida to be with her family. The job and housing markets is amazing, and who doesn’t love the beach?! We are waiting to move until I secure another job. So for the past 6 months, I have been applying for career-level jobs I have dreamed about since college. It’s hard putting myself out there, going through interview after interview, and getting turned down. I am staying positive and know I will find the right opportunity.

A few months into the pregnancy, we had a miscarriage. When it happened, I felt hopeless and alone. I found out some other people in my life had been through the same thing, and they provided me with a lot of encouragement. To go through that and see the person who means more to me than anything else in pain, was one of the hardest things I have gone through. We made it through, thanks to God. I don’t know where I would be without the support from our friends, work, and families. It was a huge test for my recovery.

The best part of 2021: I got married! On October 30th, I was officially married here in Colorado, so that my grandma could be there! She asked me to propose with her ring after all. She is my world! On November 6th, we had the best wedding I have ever been to in Dunedin, Florida (maybe I’m biased). I had an amazing week meeting my wife’s family and friends, and introducing her to mine. I’ve always wanted to get married, have a career, and have kids, but my addiction had severely stunted my growth in those areas. I am so thankful for being patient (I’m 32 years old). My wife is the best person I know, and she is my best friend. Believe it or not, we have never had a fight. We had plenty of disagreements, but our communication is exactly where it needs to be. I would go to hell and back with her by my side. No matter how hard life gets, we are going to have fun.

2021 was hard. There were challenges and disappointments, but there were also opportunities and reasons to be grateful. I thank God daily for all I was given, especially the support I have and the resilience my recovery has given me. It has been a difficult time for everyone, so I pray we make it through and come out stronger than when we started.

My advice for someone starting their recovery journey is don’t focus on the time. Try not to think about the future or milestones. Focus on why you are changing your life. You need to have a strong motivator to carry your mind and spirit through the hard times. Thinking about how long you have been in recovery, how long a certain program is, or how long the courts require you to participate, won’t help. Remember why you are doing this, and continue to build a better life to make that reason stronger and stronger. The time goes by so fast, and so many beautiful things happen on this journey. If I was busy, focusing on “staying sober until 2022, in 2021, I would not have experienced so many great things, and would not have been able to grow from everything I went through. Life gets better and everyone deserves the gift of recovery.