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Voices for Recovery

Jo Anne Stone (08/15/2011)

Growing up, I had everything going for me—I was an honor student, cheerleader, athlete, and student council member. But even though my father is dependent on alcohol and I swore I wouldn't follow in his footsteps, I started using alcohol and drugs at age 13. I believed I was different and I could control it.

I thought I was controlling it until age 32, when I finally hit bottom with no job, no car, and no home. I called my sister, who was already in recovery, and with her support went to a 6-month treatment program. Since achieving recovery, I have returned to school, received my bachelor's degree, and became a certified addictions professional. I opened my own treatment center in July 2010.

Today, I define myself as a wife, daughter, grandmother, and business owner, as well as a person in recovery for 17 years. Despite the hardships I've faced, I love my life and wouldn't trade anything I have been through. My experience has made me more determined to succeed and a better counselor to my clients, whose experiences I can understand firsthand.

In my professional life, I have conducted research on how to best treat criminal offenders with substance use disorders and how to avoid re-offenses. I have shared my story with Congress to promote the effectiveness of treatment, the possibility of recovery, and the need for adequate funding of services. I work daily to help others get better and live honest, productive lives. Last year, as part of Recovery Month, I was honored to be chosen as the Florida A&E Recovery Delegate and participated in a walk in Philadelphia and spoke at my hometown walk in Orlando.

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