Story 13/25 Survivor: Melissa Johnson

Story 13/25 Survivor: Melissa Johnson
My name is Melissa J. I have been in recovery since May 19th, 2015. I was addicted to alcohol for many years, my addiction took me down some really dark roads. I hit many rock bottoms but I couldn’t stop drinking, I kept digging a deeper hole. Even though I had many consequences over the years, I still couldn’t imagine my life without alcohol. I had no clue who I was without my crutch and I was afraid to find out. I remember one day about three years ago when I was trying to stop but I wasn’t able to make it past two weeks, feeling so hopeless. I looked at myself and my life and thought, this is it this is me. I will forever be this person hiding my wine bottles in cabinets. It wasn’t fun anymore and it hadn’t really been fun in a while. 
I always felt out of place, like everyone around me had life figured out and then there was me on the outside. I was extremely self conscious along with being a hypochondriac,I always thought there was something wrong with me. I started drinking at a young age along with experimenting with drugs, but nothing quieted the voices in my head like alcohol did. Blackouts were the norm from the beginning, consequences also began early on. I ran a red light in a black out and totaled my first car at the age of 21. In 2004 I would be at another intersection in another blackout totaling another car.That is how I lived my life for years. The consequences only got worse as the years went on, but I would chase the feeling alcohol gave me to the ends of the world regardless of the problems it caused me. Anything to make the silence the voices in my head. It wasn’t until May of 2105 when I got my kids taken away for the second time that I really felt the pain to the core. I finally truly felt the pain I was causing myself and those around me, especially my children. 
It was then I believe God removed my addiction and the voice that said "just one drink, it'll be different this time" and replaced it with "you must now share your story to help others". Sharing my story openly was not something I wanted to do. But I did it anyway, I started my blog in September of 2015 called My Truth Starts Here. I share my truth. All the ugly messy things that I once hid I now share with the world. It's so scary to put myself out there like that but when God calls you to do something, you do it. That part of my life was now over and it was time for a new chapter. 
I also started a nonprofit in my area called Clean Life.Clean Home. as a way to pay it forward to other addicts in recovery. It's my way of saying "hey, i I SEE you, I see you kicking addictions ass and here I am to do something nice for you. What I do is choose one person in recovery a month, I sit down with them to hear their testimony of redemption, I share their story on social media for others to see recovery is possible, and then me and some volunteers go in and clean their home one time for free. My goal is to grow this and have other people do it in their community as a way to spread hope and to shed light on the other side of addiction we so rarely see, RECOVERY. 
I am so grateful to be where I am today, sometimes I wonder how I made it here. So many others don't survive their addictions. I feel like it's my life purpose to show others that it doesn't matter how far down you've gone in your addiction, there is always hope. 
- Melissa

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