"The disease of addiction can be an obstacle or an opportunity. It does not have to be a life sentence.” - Justin

"My passion started out as working at ground level, meeting people where they are in their mess, and loving them into a greater direction. Although that certainly still is a passion of mine, recently I have been trying to focus time on helping those already in recovery to develop a quality of life on a larger scale that suggests it would be utterly ridiculous to ever touch another drink or a drug again. 

The real me is just another person in recovery, trying to find my way. I still have struggles daily, with mental health. My insecurities can, at times, feel like they’re eating me alive. I have to constantly surround myself with accountability and be willing to reach out for help and take it. I just want others to know it’s okay to not be okay. We all need a little help at times. We just have to be willing to admit that and reach out. 

My addiction does not define me, but it does give me a very great reason to constantly work on myself to get better. A program of recovery allows me an opportunity to discover my weaknesses and strengthen my character, that ultimately positions me to become a better person for myself, my family, and my community. 

“MORE THAN addiction” to me poses a statement that suggests my recovery is not about the absence of drugs and alcohol, but the presence of the willingness to go to any length to be an asset to those around me and to become the greatest version of myself possible. 

For the addict: The disease of addiction can be an obstacle or an opportunity. It does not have to be a “life sentence.” Make a decision to find strength in knowing that you can make the decision to fight for yourself and find freedom. There is a beautiful purpose in all of us. We sometimes just have to dig deep to turn our obstacles into those opportunities. 

For the person who does not believe addiction is a disease: I never go out of my way to try and convince a non believer. I just ask that a person try their best to be open minded, get educated, and if anything, be compassionate towards another human being, regardless of beliefs."

To learn more about Justin's work and contributions to recovery, follow Newness Of Life and check out this feature story on the WSAZ's Hometown Hero: https://www.wsaz.com/…/Hometown-Hero-Justin-Ponton-50110905…