Behind the Mask, Behind the Walls, Jared L. Discovers a Leader

Written by Journey Pure Staff

If you met Jared L. today, it would be difficult to imagine that his drug use can be traced back to childhood.  At just 11 years old, he was dabbling in marijuana and alcohol. It’s difficult to imagine that in his teens he was taking and selling pain pills, Xanax, and cocaine. Or that by 18 he lost a college scholarship after an arrest on drug charges.

Today, Jared is 427 days sober and at a job he loves, which happens to be in the addiction treatment industry. He finds joy in helping others battle the disease of addiction—so much so that he hasn’t missed a day of work since he started. He’s a leader now, a role he never saw himself in prior to treatment. He exudes confidence, both in himself and in his belief that drugs and alcohol will never ruin his life again.

Jared’s Slippery Slope into Addiction

Like many who dive into destructive, addictive behavior, Jared was attempting to numb his pain. Both biological parents were addicts, he experienced abuse, and by age 18 Jared was homeless, deep in the throes of addiction. Tempted with the notion that heroin is much cheaper than his go-to pain pills, he transitioned to the highly addictive street drug. It’s not uncommon. According to, 80 percent of U.S. heroin users admitted to misusing opioids first. The hardcore and long-term usage produced painful abscesses on his back.

Jared attempted treatment and, for a little while, things were looking up. He had a new father (a close friend’s uncle took him in and later adopted him). For the first time, Jared said, he felt unconditional love. And he too was going to be a father. Even though the relationship didn’t work out, he was excited about the new baby girl.

Tragically, however, she was a full-term stillborn. Jared was heartbroken.

“I mentally relapsed, emotionally and spiritually that day,” he said. “I didn’t physically put a drug into my body until we had her funeral.”

Jared spiraled, ignoring probation check-ins and relapsing into full-blown addiction. There were more arrests, back-to-back DUIs, and a complete loss of hope that things would get better.

“I was spiritually dead,” he said.

Removing the Mask, Tearing Down the Walls 

With an ultimatum from authorities to get treatment or serve a lot more jail time, Jared knew it was time to pull it together. He wanted to honor his daughter’s memory with sobriety. Jared found JourneyPure at the River.

“When I came to JourneyPure, I came with a complete open mind,” he said. “I was taking in as much as I could. I was so beat I was willing to do anything to change.”

During residential treatment, Jared learned that restoring health through proper sleep, nutrition, and exercise is key during recovery. He participated in individual, group, and the experiential therapies offered at JourneyPure at the River, like equine and adventure. He said these programs built the foundation for his recovery.

“From the therapies to the yoga to the working out, I went at it 100 percent,” he said. “One of the number one things I learned to do in treatment was to be vulnerable. Recovery coaches and therapists helped me tear down the walls and take off these masks.”

“I’ve always been so angry and upset and to be able to take off all those masks and be myself, even though I wasn’t really sure what that would look like… JourneyPure gave me awareness.”

Daily 12-step-inspired meetings provided the fellowship he needed.

“It gave me an extra boost to build relationships with people in the network. People in the program are tools too.”

Discovering the Real Jared

Towards the end of treatment, Jared discovered some hidden leadership qualities, also recognized by JourneyPure staff who tasked him with inspiring others to go to 12-step fellowship meetings. He says he found spirituality during treatment and that the therapy and Recovery Coaches helped him discover the core issues that led to his addiction.

So who is the real Jared? “I’m still working on that,” he said, “but I know that I’m someone of integrity—just the way I hold myself now. I know I’m a person capable of giving and receiving love. I’m a nurturer and protector.”

“It’s through pain that we grow the most—whenever I’m faced with a situation I just gotta hit it head-on.”

Like, Share and Inspire

Please share this story with someone you know or love who needs some inspiration to get the treatment they need. JourneyPure at the River can help.