Recovering addict helping others get education, obtain employment – The Oakland Press


Christine Johnson’s life took a flip, going from a vibrant childhood to jail stints in maturity.

Johnson is the brand new profession and schooling coordinator on the Pontiac nonprofit Grace Centers of Hope. But earlier than she reached sobriety, she hit all-time low.

Born within the Battle Creek space to a two-parent Catholic family, academic basis was strongly inspired. After getting a 32 on her ACT, she attended the University of Dayton in Ohio, finding out philosophy and communications.

“Part of what happened when I left for college was, I got there and it was a lot of stress,” Johnson mentioned. “It was a different environment and I had some mental health issues, depression and anxiety. I also experienced things growing up that were a little detrimental to my development.”

It didn’t take lengthy for her to hit a self-described downward spiral. Starting at about age 18, she started utilizing heroin and meth and located herself in jail a number of occasions. She ultimately dropped out of school and continued utilizing till age 31, when she was arrested on fees of producing her personal meth.

“I had really sunk,” she mentioned. “I had started off in a really great place, a really great family and a lot of education. And I had gone just all the way down.”

As she confronted severe legal fees, she communicated with an aunt from the Fenton space who had a connection to get her right into a restoration program at Grace Centers. At that point, Johnson had already gone by way of rehabilitation 12-15 occasions, intensive counseling, and a number of 3-6 month packages.

She was accepted at Grace Centers. When she left jail, her mom and aunt dropped her off in Pontiac.

Johnson helps a Grace Centers of Hope consumer within the profession and schooling middle. (Grace Centers of Hope)

Johnson quickly overtook the position of consumption coordinator on the girls’s middle, helping different girls get into this system for about two years. On Oct. 7 she took over her present position.

The profession and schooling middle gives pc coaching and work readiness, and so forth. Since 2020 it has helped 71 purchasers obtain employment, together with helping seven purchasers obtain their GEDs in 6-8 months.

Clients are available beginning at a sixth grade degree and work their approach up, Johnson mentioned. She helps them discover applicable employment based mostly on their modes of transportation, revenue, and whether or not or not they’ve youngsters as a consequence of daycare prices and requiring larger budgets.

Grace Centers of Hope additionally provides transition lessons. At the tip of women and men’s packages, they spend months studying find out how to interview for jobs and clarify gaps in employment. They additionally discover ways to work by themselves or on groups, whereas additionally taking lessons on relapse prevention.

Johnson mentioned one of many causes transition lessons began was as a consequence of stress inflicting recovering addicts to relapse. In 2020 there have been 63 purchasers in transition lessons.

“We have a 100% job placement rate,” she mentioned. “Every client that comes through here gets a job.”

For the higher a part of over a dozen years, Johnson was out and in of jails and counseling packages. Every time she took one step ahead, she then took two steps again.

Years later, she is utilizing her personal schooling to profit others in a optimistic approach, by way of a corporation that gave her “a sliver of hope” that modified her life. She even met her husband at Grace Centers.

“It’s a definite part of the circle, if not full circle for me,” she mentioned.