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.