Alumni Spotlight

Alumni Spotlight- Travis Johnson

I was born and raised in a city that was hard to get away from. Most of my friends never left, unless it was the occasional visit to the Orange County Jail cell. It seemed to be an ongoing vicious cycle for all of us. It was easier for me to place blame on my living environment and make excuses, rather than look at myself. I placed blame on my family and upbringing for my drug addiction, always trying to justify my actions. I later began to realize that many people have things much worse and that I was trying to fill a deep empty void within myself. Honestly I wanted to be like the older crowd.  My brother is 12 years older so I got to see the aspects of partying at a pretty young age.  Once I saw that I knew that that’s who I wanted to become.  So I began drinking and using minor drugs to start out with.  Then as I got a bit older I found new things, and new types of people.  Now in my head the more tattoos and the harder the manual labor job you had, the more of a man you are.  The drugs became heavier and heavier until I was stuck in the addiction that would never let me go.  I was 13 years old signing my life away and not knowing it.  In a decade I experienced many things while using such as: loss, heartbreak, jail, violence, overdoses, and pretty much everything that goes along with drugs eventually.  I couldn’t go anywhere without a fix so I would never risk it.  I still to this day beat myself up and tell myself that I’ve wasted my youth but I am trying to move forward using that as a lesson and learning from it. 

From the ages of 18 to 26 I’d tried countless rehabs and nothing ever worked for me.  I’ll admit there were times I wasn’t planning on staying sober so, to me, it wasn’t that big of a deal but when I really promised myself I would be clean and actually wanted to stay clean there would always be a situation that would seem to take me down sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.  The program I was being taught at these facilities was not working for me.  I eventually found South Orange County Detox and Treatment from a friend who said that it truly was a great program, so I tried.  I was suicidal, addicted, racist, full of hate and out of step with the world before I walked through these doors.  Some could say I was a helpless case, my family wanted nothing to do with me and I wanted nothing to do with them.  After detoxing the first couple of days I finally got enough strength and clarity to start joining groups with the others.  Salina Shuler, the owner, taught me so much about myself and I finally found hope by putting faith in her method.  I learned more in the 30-days at South Orange County Detox & Treatment than I had in my 10-years in other facilities.  Going to the weekly meeting scheduled here I found my sponsor and immediately started working my steps and gaining even more insight.  With the help of Salina, I enrolled myself in college and found out what I wanted to do with my life. She also helped me get my family back and help me achieve what I thought was absolutely impossible.  I’m now 18 months clean and sober and I would never be here if it wasn’t for the healing and love here given by Salina and South Orange County Detox and Treatment.

Alumni Spotlight- Recovery Success Story



949-584-5927 OR 949- 702-7516

The ultimatum is life or death. Years of painful experience had finally led me to complete desperation. .  I had finally hit rock bottom in every sense of the word. I’m a 22-year-old honors student, drug-addict, and alcoholic with a strong affinity for whiskey, heroin, and meth. At the cusp of defeat and an impending death, I had come to the realization that I would ironically have to fight for my life by surrendering completely

It’s all fun and games until, suddenly, it’s not anymore. When using drugs habitually, this is when things get tragically real and very, very dark. After graduating high school with a cumulative 4.2 GPA, honors, and a scholarship to a university, celebratory partying seemed only necessary; I mean, everyone was doing it. So alcohol and marijuana was an occasional party staple I would partake in. Then, rather quickly, party drugs like ecstasy and “Molly” showed up to the party. Now, with the gate wide open, I was open-minded to cocaine and prescription pills of all sorts, first taken orally and then snorted. Long story short, methamphetamine and heroin became a habitual thing, accepted thing by the newfound sketchy group of characters one gravitates to at this point in addiction. And they were cheaper, stronger, and even more so when done intravenously.

These events of my drug use did not transpire in a linear fashion. The rate at which the drugs increased in their strength, danger, and frequency of use was exponential. Inversely, the quality of my life decreased exponentially. I lost possessions. I lost friends. I lost family. I was left with nothing but a shell of myself, dope-sick, broke and contemplating suicide out of shame and guilt. Terrified of another withdrawal and seizure along with the strong influence of my parents, the only people with some faith in me left, I checked myself into South Orange County Detox. Little did I know that this place, the director of SOCD and everyone involved would save my life and help to transform it into something truly beautiful.

But after my first two months, my old unhealthy lifestyle and behavior started to make me overconfident in a detrimental way. Naïve during my first time trying to get sober, I did not see the signs of a relapse. Unbeknownst to me, relapse is a deceivingly slippery slope.

I went out with this new girl I honestly knew nothing about, with distasteful intentions, and ended up relapsing on alcohol and methamphetamine almost immediately. The truly terrifying thing to me afterwards was how quickly I threw my sobriety away when I tried to have control over drug use in my life. For the first time in my life, all of the clichés I heard at AA meetings made complete sense to me. An alcoholic or drug addict cannot control and manage his or her life while doing drugs. And I realized then that I am completely an alcoholic and a drug addict. An unfortunate but necessary relapse showed me true powerlessness and allowed me to finally begin true recovery for the sake of myself.

The purpose of all of this, the solution I am trying to convey ultimately boils down to willingness. Willingness is to be able to accept powerlessness and management over my life when using drugs and alcohol. Following this, the next step for me was to be willing and open to filling the void of this powerlessness with a power greater than myself: my Higher Power as I understand him. I am now at the point in my recovery and sobriety where I finally have a deep spiritual connect with something inconceivably greater, unfathomable, and omnipresent that I can instill trust and faith into. I am willing and I have faith that I have a purpose and, for today, I will remain sober and cherish the life I was given.