Crisis to Career
Jonathan Hughes works for Addiction Recovery Care (ARC). He spends his days working on curriculum and program development for ARC’s “Crisis to Career” training programs. He’s also a contributing columnist to the Levisa Lazer, bringing his insights on addiction and recovery to a wide audience in the form of thoughtful editorials sprinkled with references to great artists. A recent column advised readers to “seek to understand,” and included references to Vivaldi and Da Vinci.
Clearly, addiction-recovery, personal growth, and career rehabilitation are deep intellectual pursuits for Hughes. These aren’t idle academic exercises for Hughes; it’s also personal. The 33-year-old from Ashland, Kentucky spent five years in active-addiction to opiates. During this period, he checked in and out of various jails and rehabs. He has known the joy of recovery and the struggles of relapse, and what guides him today is the need for those in recovery to find awareness of their situation and potential. “There is not enough knowledge in the world to protect recovery. It takes an everyday decision to continue to grow, improve, and live,” Hughes says, discussing his attitude towards long term sobriety.
Hughes knows that at the lowest point addicts feel “hopeless and worthless.” During his period in active-addiction, he lost nearly everything. “I was homeless, broken, and a slave to opiates. The last month of using I overdosed seven times and was hit with Narcan nine times. I was as close to dead as a person that’s still breathing can be.”
Finally, after an agonizing period of use that very nearly killed him several times over, he entered treatment for the final time in May 2017, at ARC’s Lake Hills Oasis in Somerset, KY.
After graduating ARC’s 30-day program, Hughes continued attending out-patient back in Louisa where he became an intern with the company. He was rehired full time, previously working for ARC for three years prior to his relapse, as Program Coordinator with Education and Career Services that October.
In that role, he helped refine and grow a Peer Support Academy, a program designed to give men and women in recovery a billable insurance skill to help others in their walk to long-term sobriety.
Over the past five years, Hughes has been an essential part of ARC’s growth from nearly 50 employees to almost 500. He helped develop the company’s telehealth program and worked as part of the replication team that traveled around assisting ARC in opening new centers. “It was fast-paced, challenging, and I loved it. TeleHealth was completely new, and I had to develop a program from the ground up, implement it, and then train others to implement it. I love that stuff.”
Today, Hughes spends much of his time writing. He’s continually working on articles and various projects requiring him to write technically, program development, as well as internal and external communication. In the future, he hopes to direct a department with the company that helped save his life: “I thrive in program development and problem solving. I am passionate about teaching and training.”
I asked Hughes about one thing he would like people to know about his journey. His reply, unsurprisingly, reflects the thoughtfulness of someone always trying to get at the core of the problem: “Relapse does not come quickly. It is a slow and deceptive process. My relapse started in year six or seven of my recovery mentally and I never actually used until year nine. I had started to treat my work as my recovery and I stopped doing things that made my recovery strong.”
His admonition for others in recovery: “Be vigilant and own your recovery. Every compromise is one step closer to relapse.”