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Our 45th spotlight in the FACES OF HOPE: WE DO RECOVER series will focus onJustin Muncy’s story, Finally Free: Overcoming my Addiction

 

 

My name is Justin Muncy, and I'm an addict. Even though I'm not currently using, I carry my addiction with me daily. The difference now is I choose not to use. It's not much of a choice anymore, it's a way of life for me now. Make no mistake though, I know I'm just one drink or pill away from being an addict again. I'm going to tell you a brief story of what my life was before drugs, how I became a drug addict, and how by the grace of God and family that I was saved. 

I come from a very loving, tight knit family. Growing up I was shown so much love and kindness. I got to grow up around cousins who to this day I consider brothers and sisters. My grandparents spoiled me, but they always taught me that I was never better than anyone, even if we sometimes had more than others. I played sports, my dad sent me and my brother to basketball camps. Not because we could be future NBA players, but just so we could experience something we loved so much. I did well in school, so much so that I was able to win a full 4-year scholarship to the University of Kentucky while only in the eighth grade. Think about that for a second. Most kids don't even get the chance to attend college, or they have to take on horrible student loans just to graduate. Here I was, a 13-year-old kid with a college education just waiting on him. I went on to do well in high school, graduating with honors. Now I may have drunk a beer or hit a joint, but I did nothing to be considered an addict. You know, just normal coming of age teenage stuff. All of what I just said sounds pretty good, right? But all that changed the winter break of my freshman year of college. I was playing football in the snow with my family, next thing you know I got my leg broke. I didn't know it at the time, but this day, this injury would set me on a path of self-destruction that I would've never thought possible. I was prescribed Lortabs and Xanax in the beginning. At first, I took them like I was supposed to, but after a few weeks I needed them. Not because my leg hurt, but because I felt good when I took them and by good I mean I wasn't in reality. I didn't have to be "me". I don't know who I was, but the old dependable Justin was gone. In his place stood a guy who didn't care about anyone but himself. Ask anyone who was in my life prior to that point. I have some who still won’t talk to me to this day. And if you're reading this, I'm truly sorry. I can't say it enough. Anyway, I was 19 at that time, to cut a long and sad story short, I stayed that way for the next 6 years. I was a full-blown addict. I may have worked, I may have kept up appearances for those that mattered most to me. But they knew, hell everyone knew. I was the only one still thinking it was any kind of secret. Arrests piled on, local police knew me by name. I couldn't go out without ending the night at Johnson county.

THE AHA MOMENT

January 9th, 2009. A day I will never forget and never want to forget. I was arrested by the Broward County Florida Sheriff’s Department. They questioned me and told me I'd most likely be able to bond out in the morning. Boy was that so not the case. I appeared before a magistrate and he set my bond at $500,000. He ended his speaking by saying this, "Mr. Muncy, you are facing the next 25 to 30 years of your life in the Florida Department of Corrections, Good luck". I felt the floor give out, I've never did more than 90 days in Johnson Co. How was I going to do 25 years, let alone 30?! I sat for 14 months in the county jail, going to a court day here and there. Never really getting any kind of "deal". I used that time to prepare myself and my family for the inevitability that I was going to prison. And it came, March 10th, 2010. I scored out to 84 months in terms of Florida's judicial system. That means, I could except a plea of 84 months, 7 years to be clear, or take it to trial and get 25 to 30. Now I didn't want either, believe that. But Gladys didn't raise no fool, so I sucked it up like any man designed to his fate and took the 7 years. I'll say this, I wouldn't wish prison on my worst enemy. But it made a true man out of me. I won't go into the details, I'm here today, and that's what matters. 

WHAT IS THE DRIVING FORCE WHEN TIMES GET TOUGH 

My wife and my son give me a reason to live. I never knew true love until I had my son. He's me, but 15 months old lol. He's got my temper, but I hope that changes. My wife keeps me accountable. She's the rock I’ve always needed. Without her, I can't honestly say where I'd be.

WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU WANT PPL WHO'VE NEVER STRUGGLED WITH ADDICTION TO KNOW 

It's simple really, if you've never been addicted to drugs or drink, then can never really put yourself in that person's shoes, so don't judge, don't condemn, and most certainly don't give up on them. Addiction is a monkey that nobody really wants on their back. But once it’s one, it's easier to let it hang there than to get it off.

ADVICE

Don't give up. I know it's easy to let your son or daughter or nephew or niece go. But trust me, most addicts want help. They are just ashamed to get it. They feel too far gone. They don't feel worthy of love. Give them your love, give them your support, try to get them into treatment. Let them stay in jail. Don't bond them out. Tough love is the best love. Addicts need all the help they can get. 

Closing thoughts 

I want everyone to know. I'm by no means perfect. Prison did something to me that I still haven't figured out how to deal with. I'm still on edge, I'm still aggressive, I'm still ready to fight before anything. But I'm clean, I'm a dad, I'm a husband. And I'm trying. Every day I wake up is a new struggle. Addiction is never over, it’s never gone from my mind. It's whether I use or not, I won't be defined by my past. I'm building a future with my family. Me, my wife, and my son. Thanks for listening. 

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please call Addiction Recovery Care at 606.638.0938 or visit them on the web at www.arccenters.com.

 

There is hope. There is help.

Comments  

0 #3 Annie Hammond 2017-07-13 19:54
Juggy it feels my heart to read this. So very proud of you and such a beautiful family you are blessed with.

Annie Hammond
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+1 #2 Rightpath 2017-07-12 06:25
Job well done and fine looking family. Don't ever forget what you now have. And don't believe that once an addict always an addict even If you're not using as the experts claim. There are addicts who have been delivered from addiction by the grace of God
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0 #1 Juanita M. Clemons 2017-07-11 19:32
Justin,

I am extremely glad to see you are in recovery. I don't know anyone who hasn't been hit by addiction in this day and age, but I know that not everyone gets the chance to write something along these lines. As someone who has had someone close to her battle with the same demon, I know its incredibly difficult. No one is perfect, no one can stand in your shoes but you! Thank you for sharing your message and reaching out to those who feel worthless to let them know that yes, we really do care.

-Juanita (Moore) Clemons
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