One Year Later and How My Reflection in the Mirror Transformed

Man looking into his reflection
Photo by Niels Hariot/

I did not grow up in a rich family that had money to waste, but I also did not grow up wanting for much either. I would say that I had a decent childhood and upbringing. Even so, I was still brought down the brutal path of addiction for almost 10 years, something that goes to prove that addiction does not discriminate against anyone. I have seen people of all shapes and sizes become addicts, but they all have the same capability to recover as well.

It took a very long and tough road for me to finally get completely clean and sober. I had gone through experiences where it had been forced on me a couple times, once with my family telling me I needed to go to treatment and another where the state sentenced me to rehab. None of that worked, mainly because I was not ready to quit, nor did the treatment I received do anything to change my mindset. Back then I was simply cooperating to get everyone off my back so I could go do more drugs and drink more in peace. Life did not matter to me anymore, and that goes for just about everything. I did not care about my life, my family, or how it would affect them if my addiction became the end of me. I could not see the pain that my family would have suffered had I continued to use my way into an early grave and destroyed everything that was me.

Looking back at it now I always knew that eventually, one day, I needed to get clean and find a new purpose and direction in life. The problem was that even thinking about taking that first step sent shivers down my spine and shook me to the very core. Was I ready to give up my ’best friend’? It was the one thing that had remained consistent in my life for so many years. People came and went, jobs and relationships did the same, but drugs always remained true to me and, despite all the horrible things it had done to my life, it was where I sought comfort. I was terrified of the withdrawals, feeling sick, and what would happen if I did not have them in my system. However, I was more scared of looking myself in the mirror without my mask on and not liking who I saw. That thought was enough to keep me using for months on end.

Finally, I worked up the nerve to confront my demons and battle them head on and found Narconon. With the help of others and a newfound purpose I was able to get past the first three days of kicking the drugs and I felt a little bit better, I was eating half full meals and I finally took a shower. That felt good, I felt accomplished. Now the big test was looking myself in the mirror with out drugs in my system and liking what I saw, and at first it was rough as this was something completely new. Just like a painter can look at a canvas and plan out what they are going to paint, I saw a man that needed work, care, and self-love. I did not see the monster that I was once convinced that I was. What I saw was the sadness, regret and pain of a man that just wanted to stop.

The next step, which turned out to be very difficult, was battling my own thoughts and feelings when it comes to drugs. Learning how to love myself again was something I was afraid to confront, but in time that is exactly what happened. With the help of others that have recovered I was truly able to stop looking at myself as this terrible person who was worth nothing to this world, and I started seeing myself as an asset to people and found out I really wanted to help others and be someone that they could turn to in their time of need.

“I am coming up on a year clean now, and the good that has happened in my life are things that I did not even imagine possible for someone who was as bad off as me.”

I am coming up on a year clean now, and the good that has happened in my life are things that I did not even imagine possible for someone who was as bad off as me. I am constantly working on myself and making myself a better person. Even just making little changes like making my bed or making sure I am on time for work every day are things I never did before, and those things help make me feel good about myself today. I can look at my reflection in the mirror and know my despair has been replaced with pride. This is possible for anyone who is struggling. All it takes is the want to be something better and the willingness to overcome your struggles, and it can be done.

J.M.—Narconon Suncoast Graduate



Justin has been working in the field of addiction and recovery for over 1 year. Justin earned his Bachelors's Degree in Finance from Florida State University. Having been an addict himself, he brings real-world experience to the table when helping addicts and their families, while also offering a first-person perspective to the current drug crisis. Justin is passionate about educating the public about what’s currently going on in our society, and thankfully, offers practical solutions.