LOST AND FOUND

522
210
Vance Johnson
Vance Johnson

My father was an alcoholic New Jersey gang-banger who got into a lot of trouble in the 1950s. To avoid jail time, he went into the army and was stationed at Ft. Huachuca in southern Arizona. The Army straightened him out, and he put aside his old ways – at least for a while.

Vance Johnson
Vance Johnson

One night at a party, he met a young lady. He was 21; she was 15. He visited her in Marana, Arizona, where she picked cotton for 16 cents a day. A romance soon blossomed. He asked her to marry him in her sophomore year. Her father gave his blessing. When he got out of the service a few years later, they moved back to New Jersey. I was born in 1963 and spent my childhood in Trenton.

Shortly after the move, my father went back to his old ways and began abusing my mother. They separated, and she brought me back to Arizona, leaving my dad in New Jersey. He followed sometime later, and convinced her to move back to the East Coast. My sister was born shortly thereafter.

The abuse continued. Our family was deeply traumatized by the horrors of domestic violence. The beatings were bad: lots of screaming, crying and bedlam. My beautiful, saintly mother suffered terribly.

I ran. It was a high for me. Somedays I ran so much that I would pass out; I was just a young kid running from what he was experiencing. I would disappear into my own head. It was my escape.

I started getting involved in more sports so I wouldn’t have to be at home. The chaos seemed less when I was winning, when I was the hero. Sports became everything to me. I’d play and practice from 10 AM to 11 PM; I even had a key to the gym. I was doing really well, often placing at the top in the state and even the country.

I didn’t have a good relationship with my father and feared I might grow up to be like him, an abusive, womanizing addict. I didn’t want to be like him, but I didn’t know how to be any other way in a relationship, so I stayed away from girls. At 15, I decided to avoid any kind of relationship with sex and women. I just didn’t want it. When I got big enough and strong enough to stand up to my father, I threatened him, telling him that if he hurt Mom again, I’d kill him. I did end up kicking his ass, but his behavior didn’t change.

In 1976, Mom left him for good and we moved to Tucson, Arizona, where I attended high school and continued to excel in sports, particularly football and track. My father moved there after a while, but he couldn’t persuade my mom to live with him again.

In my senior year, at the urging of my coach, I accepted an athletic scholarship to the University of Arizona. This gave me the chance to go to college and play sports while staying close to home. The following spring, I won the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) long jump competition. I excelled in football in my senior year and was one of the collegiate athletic conference top receivers. Through high school and college, I never smoked weed, drank or took drugs. Sports were my high.

After graduating in 1984, I went to the Olympic Trials in track and was selected as an alternate. I could have gone to the next Olympics, but instead I decided to try out for professional football. I wanted to make some money! I entered the 1985 National Football League (NFL) draft and was picked up by the Denver Broncos in the second round. The stress was tremendous.

My first year in the NFL, I started dating a woman. We had been dating for a short time when, after a bad game where I dropped a punt, she told me she was pregnant. The next day, on the way to practice with some teammates, we stopped at a liquor store. My friends bought tequila, and I decided to try it. That tequila led to daily drinking mixed with the pills I took for anxiety.

My girlfriend and I got married in Vegas. At practice sometime later, I overheard the guys talking smack about my wife. I ran home screaming and yelling and pushed her into a closet door. She hit her head and fell down unconscious; I thought she was dead. I carried her into the bathroom and splashed water on her face. Even after she came to, I was still angry and began punching the walls, just like my father used to do. Our marriage ended not long thereafter.

By this time, I was getting high and using whatever I could to cope, but was careful not to get caught. I’d sober up on my way to the weekend games. Sometimes I’d get pulled over, but I’d offer the cops tickets to the games and managed to skate by without an arrest. But, my life was a wreck and getting worse.

My domestic problems were always related to drugs. Through the years, I was married and divorced several times. I was an absentee father to my children. My finances were a mess; I was bouncing checks and falling behind on child support. I also went to jail after crashing into one wife’s car. Through all this I called myself a believer, but I sure didn’t act like one. Somehow, no one realized I was an addict, including me.

In 1996, a year after my career in football was over, I tried to commit suicide. There I was, driving down a highway, crazy high and hallucinating. By then I was using drugs to manage all the craziness in my head, but it wasn’t working. When I got home, I pulled off all my clothes and lay naked in my garage, paranoid and banging my head on the ground as I cut my wrists. I called my attorney for help and told him I was losing my mind. I was desperate; to this day, I don’t know how I survived.

It was clear I needed a fresh start, so I moved to Grand Junction, Colorado, leaving my kids with their various moms. In 2007, after my fifth divorce, I remarried and tried to settle down with my new wife and my three now-teenaged sons. Running from my addictions, I scaled down the drinking, opened a couple of businesses and started attending church with my family. Although I had already damaged so many lives, I continued womanizing, smoking weed, drinking and taking pills.

My oldest son, Vaughn, who would always say, “I want to be like you, Dad,” was attending college in Grand Junction. Having blown the engine in his car, he was working for me to earn money for the repairs. One morning, he decided to take his motorcycle up to Ft. Collins to visit his grandfather.

I was in the bar drinking Patrón at my restaurant when my ex-wife called me. “I’m broken,” she said. “Our son is dead.” Vaughn had been hit and killed by a drunk driver who ran a stop sign. I fell to my knees. I drank the whole bottle of tequila, then another, and walked through the restaurant and out the front door. My father threatened to kill me because I was acting so crazy, so I threw him on the ground outside the restaurant. Life as I knew it was over. I was never again the same person.

I used to think I would get through it, but now I don’t want to!

I blamed my dad. I blamed myself for not fixing the car that Vaughn should have been driving. Over the following two years, I drank, smoked, took pills and had relations with anyone who wanted to be with me. Slowly, but surely, I was killing myself.

When 2012 rolled around, I was going through yet another divorce and hurting emotionally and physically. My bloodwork was off, so my mom took me to the hospital where I fell into a coma. I remained in a drug induced coma for 26 days. My pastor prayed over me, my daughter and sister said their goodbyes. No one thought I would make it.

There I was, 50 years old, tied to a hospital bed. During rare moments of clarity, I wondered if this was how it was all going to end. As I lay in that bed, I had visions of dark shadows walking in the room as if to take me with them when I passed from this world. They came every day, but they never took me.

When I was finally released from the hospital, I thought I could go back and work like I did when I was young. I tried this for a while. Things began to turn around again.

One day, I went golfing with some friends and decided I could have a drink. From that moment, everything went downhill fast. I quickly graduated to weed, more alcohol, and pills to help me not drink so much. Before long, I was peeing in glasses and on myself; puking blood; and even drinking from glasses of pee, which I mistook for whiskey in my drunkenness.

In early 2014, I was drunk and driving down the road, crying and screaming to God to help me. I had no money, no kids, no relationships, nothing to leave behind. I reached out to the NFL. They called Randy Grimes, a former center for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Randy had turned his life around and was working as an interventionist in North Palm Beach, Florida.

The NFL sent me to treatment. When I got there, I was surrounded by losers. I had assumed I’d be on a beach with other athletes talking about old times. It wasn’t like that.

One day, a voice in my head told me that I was sick, but I could get sober if I accepted the help being offered to me. I began seeing my peers in a different light. As they talked, I listened and began to understand my own underlying issues. I attended church and got into the Scriptures. I walked in His light and understood that I needed to become “sober-minded.”

My journey was not just about becoming sober. I knew that I could not maintain my sobriety if I didn’t continue to learn about the disease and about my own spirit. When I left rehab, I stayed away from fame, the Broncos and everything that had destroyed my previous life. I went to meetings and really listened.

A treatment program offered me a job for $200 per week and a bus pass. At the same time, the Broncos offered me $2,000 per week to represent them around the country. I called my mother. “I’m not worried,” she said. “You’ll do the right thing.” I did. I got on the plane to Tampa for the $200 per week paycheck.

God gave me my true self back. I found my son Vaughn’s grave and promised him that I’d never allow another young man to lose his life like I did. Today, I speak around the country. I talk about my life, my children, what happened to me, and how things changed for me when I learned about my addiction. I tell people that they can change their lives, too.

Today, I am married, and love my wife. We have amazing children, a twelve-year-old daughter and an eight-year-old son. My wife comes first, then all my kids, then my job. God encapsulates all of it. Though sometimes things are tough, I never stop the journey. I attend meetings where there are newcomers. I’m involved in recovery every day – it’s my daily lifestyle. I hope you will walk with me in this battle to end addiction.

522 COMMENTS

  1. I am frequently to blogging and i really appreciate your content material. The article has actually peaks my interest. I am going to bookmark your internet site and keep checking for new facts.

  2. My friends and I really like your blog and find most of your articles to be just what I am in need of. Do you offer other people to create content for you? I would not mind publishing an article on inspirational quotes or on a few of the subjects you write about on this site. Great blog!

  3. There’s amazing modifications on the layout of your site, I really like that! My website is regarding upvc window manufacturers and currently there are quite a lot of stuff to be done, I am yet still a newcomer in web page design. Take care!

  4. hi!,I like your writing very much! share we communicate more about your article on AOL? I need an expert on this area to solve my problem. May be that’s you! Looking forward to see you.

  5. I’ll right away grab your rss as I can not find your email subscription link or newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Kindly let me know so that I could subscribe. Thanks.

  6. Magnificent web site. Plenty of helpful information here. I’m sending it to some pals ans additionally sharing in delicious. And naturally, thank you for your effort!

  7. I’m really enjoying the theme/design of your site. Do you ever run into any web browser interface situations? Quite a few of the blog readers have complained regarding my home intercom blog not operating the right way in Internet Explorer but appears great in Chrome. Are there any kind of advice to help fix the matter?

  8. Aw, this was a very nice post. In concept I wish to put in writing like this additionally – taking time and actual effort to make a very good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate alot and certainly not appear to get one thing done.

  9. Our LGV (Large Goods Vehicle) HGV training is based in East London, and our LGV/ HGV courses are taught by qualified DVSA LGV & HGV trainers. LGV was formerly known as HGV, where it used to be referred to as HGV Class 2 (now called LGV Category C) and HGV class 1 (Now called LGV Category C+E).

  10. I constantly read your content attentively. I am furthermore thinking about pokemon go game app, maybe you could discuss this occasionally. I’ll be back soon.

  11. As I web-site possessor I believe the content material here is rattling fantastic , appreciate it for your efforts. You should keep it up forever! Good Luck.

  12. Thanks a lot for discussing this info, I bookmarked the web page. I’m furthermore interested in info around shipping information, have you any idea the place where I might come across a thing like that? I will return very soon!

  13. I’m interested to discover what website platform you are using? I am having a few small safety challenges with our most recent site about mesothelioma law firm articles and I would love to find one thing more safe. Do you have any recommendations?

  14. My friends and I absolutely love your blog and find the majority of the posts to be just what I am looking for. Would you offer guest writers to create content for you? I wouldn’t mind composing a post regarding free english movies or maybe on some of the topics you write about here. Again, awesome site!

  15. Thanks for the sensible critique. Me & my neighbor were just preparing to do a little research about this. We got a grab a book from our local library but I think I learned more clear from this post. I am very glad to see such great information being shared freely out there.

  16. There’s remarkable upgrades on the style of the site, I certainly enjoy that! My website is relating to free films to watch and right now there are lots of stuff to be done, I am yet still a beginner in web development. Take care!

  17. Howdy! This is my very first comment on your site so I simply wanted to say a quick hello and tell you I really enjoy reading through your articles. Can you recommend any other blogs that deal with likes for instagram? I am also really curious about this thing! Thank you so much!

  18. Thank you so much for the amazing write-up! I certainly liked finding out about it.I will be sure to take note of the site and will often return later on. I would love to suggest you to keep on with the great work, perhaps think about newest jailbreak as well, have a great morning!

  19. I would like to take the ability of saying thanks to you for that professional instruction I have enjoyed going to your site. I’m looking forward to the particular commencement of my college research and the complete planning would never have been complete without visiting this site. If I can be of any help to others, I’d be glad to help by what I have gained from here.

  20. Thanks a ton for sharing this, I bookmarked this site. I am furthermore attempting to find data on forex trading bot, have you any idea where I could come across one thing like this? I will return in a little while!

  21. Al Hadi AC Refrigration and Repairing is committed to giving your ACs a new lease of life. We have a team of experienced professionals which has serviced more than a 1000 units, much to the satisfaction of our clients. The effort at Al Hadi has always been to service a call in the shortest span of time and to close it with a happy client. The referrals we get is a testimony to our work. Try our services today!

  22. We’re a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community. Your site offered us with valuable information to work on. You’ve done a formidable job and our whole community will be grateful to you.

  23. Undeniably believe that which you stated. Your favorite justification seemed to be on the internet the simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get irked while people consider worries that they just do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people could take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

  24. Appreciating the time and effort you invested in the website and thorough info you display. It’s amazing to come across a blog once in a while which is just not the similar out of date rehashed information. Awesome read! I’ve saved your webpage and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my current sports news web page.

  25. Are you tired of your ac repair in Dubai? Are you looking for Certified Professionals to carry out your ac repair with improved facilities and in an expert way?. Hot and humid conditions are not easy to tolerate, especially when you are not used to them. But, thanks to the air conditioners – living in such extreme settings can also become a pleasant experience, and more so if you are in Dubai.

  26. Hey I am so happy I discovered this webpage, I actually discovered you by error, while I was looking on Google for sofa shampoo. Nonetheless I am here now and would really love to say thanks a lot for a marvelous posting and the all round exciting blog (I furthermore love the design), I do not have enough time to read it completely at the minute yet I have saved it and moreover added in the RSS feeds, so once I have time I’ll be returning to read a lot more. Please do maintain the great work.

  27. You’re absolutely right and I totally trust you. If you want, we can also talk around excel training online, one thing that fascinates me. Your site is really amazing, regards!

  28. You are completely right. I really liked reading through this and I will return for more as quickly as possible. My own site is dealing with racks and equipment cabinets, you can look if you are interested in that.

  29. I’m really enjoying the design of your internet site. Do you ever come across any kind of web browser compatibility issues? A few of the website visitors have lamented about my local bitcoin website not working effectively in Internet Explorer though seems awesome in Safari. Are there any kind of solutions to assist correct this problem?

  30. I’m really enjoying the theme/design of your website. Do you ever come across any kind of internet browser interface troubles? A number of my blog visitors have lamented regarding my Ethereum price website not operating effectively in Explorer yet looks wonderful in Chrome. Have you got any kind of suggestions to assist repair this problem?

  31. I was speaking to a buddy of my own about this info and even about NYC parking ticket as well. I do think you made a few great points in this article, we are looking forward to keep reading material from you.

  32. ANPC is a free nation for and by the living men and women of the earth. This Private Nation is a grassroots association based out of Indonesia having its own International Charter, Peace Treaty, Constitution, Rules of conduct and has adopted the Declaration of Human Rights. These Treaties have been Registered by International Notice to the Hague and World Court as well as other agencies worldwide. The entire goal and mission of ANPC is WORLD PEACE and freedom for all the nationals of the world, focusing on a peaceful gathering together of all tribes and nations. Our living men and women are to live as Peaceful Inhabitants on the land, striving always to create a better world today and for future generations.

  33. “Its such as you read my mind! You appear to grasp a lot approximately this, like you wrote the ebook in it or something. I believe that you simply can do with some p.c. to force the message house a little bit, but other than that, this is wonderful blog. A fantastic read. I will certainly be back.”

  34. Hello! Would you mind if I share your blog with my twitter group? There’s a lot of folks that I think would really appreciate your content. Please let me know. Many thanks

  35. Thanks a bunch for sharing this with all people you actually know what you are speaking about! Bookmarked. Please additionally discuss with my website =). We will have a link trade arrangement among us!

  36. “I have to point out my respect for your generosity for those people who absolutely need guidance on this important field. Your personal commitment to passing the message all over had become remarkably invaluable and have surely made others just like me to attain their objectives. Your own invaluable instruction entails much to me and much more to my peers. Many thanks; from all of us.”

  37. I’m impressed, I have to admit. Genuinely rarely should i encounter a weblog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you may have hit the nail about the head. Your idea is outstanding; the problem is an element that insufficient persons are speaking intelligently about. I am delighted we came across this during my look for something with this.

  38. “Thank you, I have recently been looking for information about this topic for a long time and yours is the best I have came upon so far. But, what about the conclusion? Are you certain concerning the supply?”

  39. Are you sick and tired of being bored? You’ll never have a dull moment if you visit http://camgirl.pw It’s by far the most exciting site on the internet. There, you’ll be able to talk to all kinds of hot babes. Don’t be surprised if everyone at work asks why you’re so happy. You don’t need to tell them that you visit this site each and every day. It’ll be your little secret.

  40. “My brother recommended I might like this blog. He was entirely right. This post truly made my day. You cann’t imagine simply how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!”

  41. There are some of you out there who probably haven’t heard of http://www.camgirl.pw This is one of those must see sites. It’s full of extremely attractive ladies. You’re going to want to put down your sandwich when visiting this site. It’s impossible to focus on anything but the babes they have to offer.

  42. Have you ever thought about creating an ebook or guest authoring on other blogs? I have a blog based on the same topics you discuss and would really like to have you share some stories/information. I know my subscribers would enjoy your work. If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an e-mail.

  43. Today, I went to the beach with my kids. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She placed the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely off topic but I had to tell someone!

  44. Hiya very cool web site!! Guy .. Beautiful .. Superb .. I’ll bookmark your site and take the feeds also…I’m glad to seek out a lot of useful information here in the publish, we need work out extra techniques in this regard, thanks for sharing.

  45. My spouse and I stumbled over here coming from a different web page and thought I might as well check things out. I like what I see so i am just following you. Look forward to going over your web page for a second time.

  46. Excellent post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed! Very useful info specially the last part 🙂 I care for such info much. I was looking for this particular info for a long time. Thank you and good luck.

  47. Simply want to say your article is as surprising. The clarity in your post is just great and i could assume you are an expert on this subject. Well with your permission allow me to grab your feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please carry on the gratifying work.

  48. Thank you, I have recently been searching for information approximately this subject for a while and yours is the greatest I’ve came upon till now. But, what concerning the bottom line? Are you positive in regards to the supply?

  49. Hi my friend! I want to say that this post is awesome, nice written and include almost all important infos. I’d like to see more posts like this.

  50. Magnificent beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend your web site, how can i subscribe for a blog web site? The account helped me a acceptable deal. I had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear idea

  51. Have you ever considered publishing an ebook or guest authoring on other websites? I have a blog based upon on the same topics you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information. I know my subscribers would appreciate your work. If you are even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an e-mail.

  52. I do believe all the ideas you’ve offered on your post. They’re very convincing and can definitely work. Still, the posts are too short for novices. May just you please prolong them a little from next time? Thank you for the post.

  53. I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good. I do not know who you are but definitely you are going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

  54. “Hi there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and found that it’s really informative. I am gonna watch out for brussels. I’ll appreciate if you continue this in future. Lots of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!”

  55. Terrific work! This is the type of info that should be shared around the net. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher! Come on over and visit my web site . Thanks =)

  56. Does your website have a contact page? I’m having trouble locating it but, I’d like to shoot you an email. I’ve got some creative ideas for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great site and I look forward to seeing it improve over time.

  57. I have to get across my admiration for your kindness for individuals who need help on that study. Your very own dedication to passing the message all through has been unbelievably important and have truly helped women just like me to get to their aims. The important useful information indicates much to me and far more to my peers. Thank you; from everyone of us.

  58. Thanks , I have just been looking for info approximately this topic for a while and yours is the greatest I’ve came upon till now. But, what in regards to the bottom line? Are you positive in regards to the source?

  59. Wonderful goods from you, man. I have be aware your stuff prior to and you are just extremely excellent. I actually like what you have bought here, really like what you are saying and the way through which you are saying it. You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it sensible. I can’t wait to learn much more from you. This is actually a great website.

  60. Hi there just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your article seem to be running off the screen in Chrome. I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you know. The design and style look great though! Hope you get the problem resolved soon. Thanks

  61. Good info! Interesting tips over this website. It’s pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as you did, the web will be a lot more useful than ever before.| I couldn’t refrain from commenting. I have spent 2 hours trying to find such infos. I’ll also share it with a couple of friends interested in it. I’ve just bookmarked this website. Done with the work done, I going to watch some WAGs Webcams. Danke!! Regards from Mundial 2018!

  62. Very good written article. It will be valuable to anybody who utilizes it, including myself. Keep doing what you are doing – looking forward to more posts.

  63. You’ve been working hard lately. All that stress has got to be eating at you. Why not take a break and enjoy some cam girls? There’s plenty of them to enjoy at http://www.camgirl.pw It’s wall to wall babes at this site. You’ll know that right away after your first visit.

  64. “Hi there, just was aware of your weblog thru Google, and located that it’s truly informative. I’m going to watch out for brussels. I’ll be grateful for those who proceed this in future. Lots of other folks will be benefited out of your writing. Cheers!”

  65. Hello there friend! Hello! I just would like to give a huge thumbs up for the great info you have here on this post. I will be coming back to your blog for more soon. Again thanks alot for this!

  66. Thanks for the points shared on your blog. Yet another thing I would like to talk about is that fat reduction is not exactly about going on a dietary fads and trying to shed as much weight as you can in a few months. The most effective way to lose weight is by taking it little by little and following some basic recommendations which can make it easier to make the most from the attempt to slim down. You may know and already be following most of these tips, but reinforcing awareness never affects.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here