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December 15, 2013

Plattsburgh man overcomes addiction, helps others

PLATTSBURGH — Danny Johnson’s life has come full circle.

The Plattsburgh man, 47, works as an administrative assistant at Behavioral Heath Services North in Plattsburgh, where he was a client battling depression and addiction just a few years ago.

The difficulties he experienced as a child made him vulnerable to substance abuse later on, he said.

“I was molested as a child,” he said. “That’s was the only way I could be someone else — (when) I was intoxicated.”

ADDICTION

Johnson started drinking when he was 14 or 15.

“That’s the norm where I grew up at,” he said.

In 1994, after many years of abusing alcohol, Johnson called Conifer Park, a treatment center in Schenectady.

He stayed in the area after completing the program, getting a job as a cook.

“I was in a positive space at the time,” Johnson said.

But things spiraled downward when he tried crack for the first time in November 2005.

‘KEPT CHASING’

Johnson had always wondered why people spent so much money on the drug, he said.

“(But) it was just a feeling of freedom,” he said of being high. “It is something that you just keep chasing.”

His drug habit made it difficult for Johnson to keep a job, and at one point, he had six different ones in a single month.

Then in July 2006, he moved back to Plattsburgh to be closer to his family.

But being in his hometown wasn’t enough to pull him out of depression, and it wasn’t long before Johnson attempted suicide.

“I took enough (drugs) knowing I was going to die.”

‘ABLE TO CRY’

After he made a second suicide attempt, the staff at CVPH Medical Center referred him to the PROS (Personalized Recovery Oriented Service) program at Behavioral Health Services North.

That’s when things took a positive turn for Johnson.

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