John Winslow “came from a middle-class family with good core values. Yet he began drinking alcohol and experimenting with mind-changing/mood-altering substances at an early age.”
“I got drunk for the first time at age 14 and it was transformative,” writes John. “I couldn't get enough!”
When John was 17 his older sister was killed by a drunk driver. Her fiancée and best friend were also killed. And so was the drunk driver who hit his sister’s car.
John swore he would never drink and drive again. He broke that promise within a matter of months.
John got married at 18, became a father at 20 and was then drafted to fight in Vietnam. A rebel by nature, John drank and abused drugs throughout his entire enlistment.
At 25 John checked himself into a V.A. psych ward and spent two months “trying to get his head together.” There he was coaxed into attending an A.A. meeting. But John determined he “wasn’t that bad.”
John spent another year in the throes of addiction. He just couldn’t stop. Then, driving drunk one night, a head-on collision nearly stopped John forever.
“I was spiritually, physically and emotionally broken,” said John. “And finally willing to fully accept help.”
John entered a 28-day, 12-Step-oriented treatment program and “followed the good, orderly direction that was recommended." He’s been in recovery ever since.
John got into addiction treatment. After working in both inpatient and outpatient programs, he opened a center of his own. John returned to school and got his Master’s Degree. Then he became director of a local health department’s outpatient treatment program.
John remarried, raised a family and dedicated his life to helping others beat the disease of addiction.
John’s now semi-retired, yet he continues to advocate for recovery efforts on a local, regional, statewide, and national level. John says he’s “had a wonderful life.”
Oh, yeah. John’s sobriety date is January 21, 1976.
We here at Recovery Boot Camp applaud John for his long time service and for his long-term sobriety. And we’re grateful to be able to cite his inspiring story. Because no matter how many times we see such stories, it’s great to be reminded that long-term sobriety can happen to anyone.
(Note: John Winslow is coordinator of the Recovery Leadership Program at the National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependence-Maryland. John also serves on the Board of Directors at Salisbury’s Recovery Resource Center.)