My name is Josh, and I’m in recovery from addiction. After years of substance abuse, I finally got clean on October 27, 2014. It was a long journey to get to where I am today — a dedicated husband, father, and professional. After addiction ravages your life, rebuilding may seem almost impossible. But I know first-hand that anyone can build a successful life, free from addiction. They just have to be willing to put in the work it requires.
The first time I used a substance, I did it because I was desperate to feel confident. I was told that the substance would make me lose my fear of everything and give me the confidence I wanted. So, I took the substance and finally felt like I fit in. I thought it was what I had been looking for my whole life. In the beginning, I thought using it was harmless.
Somewhere along the lines, my substance use became very harmful. I couldn’t stop using no matter how hard I tried. I overdosed many times. (One time, I was told that I had died, but the paramedics brought me back to life). I stole from everyone that I cared about. I lied, cheated, stayed in jail, got two DUIs, damaged relationships, totaled three cars, and the list goes on.
I tried to stop using many times. I went to outpatient treatment, individual therapy sessions, a methadone clinic, and countless doctors and psychiatrists. I even tried switching substances. It wasn’t until my fourth time in residential treatment that I finally surrendered to recovery.
During my previous attempts to stop using, I was only willing to do the “easier” things. I was never willing to put in real work and stay consistent. But I finally committed to my recovery during my last stay in residential treatment. For me, staying clean is all about consistency. In order to maintain long-term sobriety, I have to be consistent with my recovery routine.
When I finished my last residential treatment stay, I was 33-years-old and 40,000 dollars in debt. I didn’t have a license, vehicle, or job. I had damaged all of my relationships, and I was so lost. I thought I would never have a family or a good career. I thought that I had missed my chance.
I chose a recovery path that works for me. I have seen people follow many different paths to recovery. We each have to find our own path and stay consistent with it, which is what I did.
When I’d been sober for one year, I met a woman who is now my wife. Today, we have two beautiful children — one boy and one girl who are my world. They never have to see their dad loaded. I paid off all of my debt, got my license reinstated, bought a vehicle, obtained a great career, and bought a home last year. I never thought any of this would happen.
But it didn’t happen overnight. Rebuilding my life took time and patience. As long as I kept putting my recovery above everything else, my life continued to improve. I gained confidence and self-love that I never had before. I became happier than I had ever been.
Today my past has become my greatest asset, and I get to help others find the same gift of recovery that I have been given. To anyone who thinks they are a hopeless case and will end up dead or in jail, that was me. I am proof that, that lie is dead. We can and do recover. Then, we get to pass the hope of recovery along to others. I’m beyond grateful for my second chance at life, and it’s all because I surrendered to recovery and put it first above all else in my life.
About the Author
Josh Barker is a Business Development Representative at Wasatch Crest. By developing strong relationships with health care professionals and the community, Josh aims to be a resource for individuals struggling with addiction. Josh entered the recovery field after beating his own 16-year struggle with addiction and has worked on recovery outreach teams for over six years. He is passionate about giving others the same gift of recovery that he was given.
In his free time, Josh works with the nonprofit Let it Flow to help source clean water in Ethiopia, Haiti, Fiji, India, and the Philippines. Josh is a huge Star Wars fan and earned his Eagle Scout badge when he was 16 years old. Josh is married to the love of his life and has two beautiful children, who he considers his greatest accomplishments.