In His Own Words

by Denny Richard

I was very scared that i could someday die from doing drugs, but again meth controlled my thinking so all the consequences didn’t seem to matter.

John Brown was hurting. And scared. Ten years of addiction ended up with him looking in a mirror and not recognizing himself.

After years of doing (meth) I realized it has gotten me nowhere.

But then he did the unexpected. He got clean.

“It gets better,” says John, a Lake Oswego native and former crystal meth user who just turned 32.

John is now 18 months into recovery from crystal meth use and abuse. During his using, John says he didn’t accomplish much of anything. He dropped out of culinary school and had no real ambition to accomplish anything. He felt mentally and emotionally lost. And he was lonely.

You know it’s a Friday and Saturday thing and I’m telling myself I’m just going to do it on weekends. But weekends turned into weekdays. And then every day.

John acknowledges that he has done things he otherwise would not have, like participating in risky sexual activities, which has resulted with him contracting HIV. He also admitted to lying and stealing and even spent a day in jail when he was 25 years old. But since he was high, it didn’t make a difference.

“I did not really learn a lesson,” says John. “I did not care about the consequences and I was using again the next day.”

But today is much different.

I thought being clean would be so boring. but I have so much fun now In John’s recovery, he has come to terms with his past and is now happily enjoying life.

“I never thought being clean would be so much fun, and I’m so happy now. My friends and I actually do things.”

John is also happy that he can be present with his family and participate in their lives. He has reconnected with friends he lost while he was using. He can actually say that he is  proud of himself. He feels blessed that he is getting help with medication to help regulate the HIV virus in his system and John recognizes that staying clean is directly related to his overall health as well.

I am learning how to deal with problems without drugs, and it’s not easy, but it’s nice to be able to face problems.

John plans to enroll in Portland Community College’s program for Drug and Alcohol Counseling and hopes to reach out to those who are using that want to make a change. He’s currently taking prerequisites.

“If only one person can hear what I am saying, and is ready to be free of this kind of life, then I have done what I set out to do,” he says about sharing his story.

…being clean is amazing. the relationships i have made today are amazing,

“The recovery community was the biggest thing that has helped me. There are a lot of different 12 step meetings and there are also ones for just gay people as well,” John says.

Believe in yourself once again, John advises.

Just give it a try. Just today. Just one day.


  1. Brian M. says:

    I know John and he is the greatest guy! John’s an amazing, kind, wonderful person. He greeted me with a big smile and welcomed me warmly when I took my first steps into recovery from alcoholism… now he is a friend and an important part of my sobriety! What a great article on a great guy who is doing outstanding things for himself and his community!

  2. You could not have chosen a better example of a person who has changed their life and is seizing happiness. John has a zest for life that infects those in his presence. He is authentic, loving and positive in his interactions. I am blessed to have him as a friend. Plus he gets fantastic hugs.

  3. Jen Sconce says:

    I have known John Brown since high school and lost touch with him during the years he used. I thought of him often and then one day he popped up on Facebook, we went through the usual “what have you been doing for the last ten years and he, one day, said “I am one day clean off of crystal meth, I feel like I have gone nowhere in my life.” He was a person we all wanted to succeed because whether you know John for years or for one day, he has an impact on people that is larger then life. Reading his stpry I realized that John had not gone “nowhere in life” he has gone nowhere in life where his friends would not love him for who he is, who he was and the person he has become. Congratulations friend, you are going to be an inspiration to others and do amazing things and all of us are so proud of you because there is only room for one JOHN BROWN in our lives and you will always be loved by your friends no matter what you do, we are always here and we are glad you have come back.

  4. I grew up with John and I can honestly say that I know whatever venture John sets his mind to accomplishing will be achieved. Conquering addiction is tough and he’s doing that everyday. I can’t wait to see what John does in the future! My hope is that he does get to share his story with others. I know if he does his spark will ignite a fire that will rage inside someone inspiring change.

  5. I also went to school with John. When I heard the news that John was addicted to drugs it saddened my heart. When you become friends with someone like John, whether you see each other every day or not since 11th grade, he remains someone you consider a friend because we all know at any given moment if we needed something, John Brown would give his shirt off his back before he took something in return. John Brown is one of the most unselfish, amazing, intelligent, animated, courteous, kind, soft hearted, giving, loving, gracious, thankful, person I have ever known. No drug can take that away but it can take a life and I am so thankful that in this case god has given John a chance to tell others that they can make it just as he has. Good luck John, the stars in the sky shine bright but you are one of the stars that has always shined the brightest and you are going to do amazing things helping others.

  6. Me too!

  7. Carlyn Darrah says:

    I didn’t go to school wtih John, LOL but what amazing young man. Congrats on your accomplishments John. One day at a time buddy that is all you can do. Stand strong John.

  8. DeMarco Majors says:

    How about that! I met john over 10years ago before any of us knew what we would do with our adult lives. Just like many of you i was infected by this short guy with a huge personality. His smile and laugh could change the energy of the whole room. I have only seen him 2 times in 12yrs yet we remain extremely close. I often wondered where would john take his life or would he allow his life to be taken. John you have taken control of your life and this joy that I am able to experience in reading your story even though I know it gives me strength and courage. God is so good and to see you sharing the gift he gave you no matter what people may think or say…you my friend have saved many lives with telling your truth! If all i have is today to live i know that John Brown my friend you have shaped and encourage my thoughts today and its all love.

  9. John Brown is a blessing to the world. Everything that he has been through is for a spiritual calling to reach others, as he is a naturally sober social butterfly, with a fabulous sense of humor and humility. John Brown has been my most stable friend through my entire life, that is saying a lot for a person to be so compassionate and enthusiastic about life. I am so excited to see my dear friend transforming in to the beautiful butterfly whom he truly is. John Brown is an angel on earth and a gift to this universe. He is a true gem and full of abundant positivity and has the ability to show love and live from his heart authentically, and consciously. Much Love to John Brown <3

  10. sean hunyadi says:

    john brown is such a blessing to the world. I wish there where more people around in this world like him. He is truely a role moldel to many and will be wonderful at helping others. John has such a positive personality and just makes you smile even when your feeling down! Miss you and love you lots. Keep up the good work.

Speak Your Mind