Jason Lennox is the Vice President of Revenue Operations at Kyros, and is a healthcare operations leader who is deeply involved in transforming the recovery community. Over 12 years in recovery, Jason shares his personal addiction recovery story of finding recovery in the face of stigma that impacts each person in recovery. Jason touches on some of his journey in our feature below, but you can find his full story in his recently published novel, A Perfect Tragedy: Finding Purpose in Pain, Loss and Addiction.
Tell us a bit about your addiction recovery story – how did you begin your recovery?
After a near fatal overdose in December of 2010, I was taken from the hospital to jail again, after being on the run for nearly a year. As I was suffering through withdrawals and the mental anguish of the situation I was in, I wanted my life to end. With no way out, I made a call to schedule an assessment with someone from a prior intervention. Within days, I had an assessment completed, a court date, and a bed secured in a residential treatment program.
What are some obstacles you overcame at the beginning of your recovery journey?
When I arrived at treatment, I didn’t have a home, a job, a car, money, or anything else worth noting. I walked in with a bag of dirty clothes. Starting with nothing made it very challenging to meet my basic needs. But, in my first year of recovery, with the help of others, I bought a car and landed a couple jobs. I paid an outstanding college debt and enrolled in school the next fall. I got my own phone, a bank account, my own bills, and an apartment to call home. For the first time in my life, I was self-sustaining.
What do you think are the biggest challenges that people in recovery face?
Some of the obstacles I faced are very common for people in recovery. I think there’s a bigger challenge, though, in the stigma that still exists. I struggled for many years to admit I had a problem, mostly because substance use disorder is so stigmatized. So many people still think substance use disorder is a moral failing and not a disease, and it’s easy to see why that makes it hard for people to admit their struggles. Without the honesty and vulnerability it takes to share about those struggles, there isn’t a lot of possibility to find a new way.
How has your life changed throughout your recovery?
Prior to finding recovery, my life was full of chaos, regret, and pain. I knew it was going to end by way of addiction and I was simply trying to minimize the pain along the way. In my first year of recovery, I started to believe others when they said a life free of substances was possible. After some hard work to clean up my past and create new habits, I started to see a free life was possible for me, too. Since finding that freedom, I’ve established so many amazing relationships with family and friends. That’s number one for me. Relationships have helped me find recovery and they’ve helped me find the magic in life.
I’ve also been able to create a much larger world. Seeing so much more of the world geographically, solving larger societal problems, and serving on larger platforms. From chairing recovery meetings to chairing boards, owning businesses, publishing a memoir, and speaking to tens of thousands of people, my life has transformed in ways I could never have imagined.
What does success in recovery look like to you?
Recovery to me looks like an eagle soaring through the sky on a warm, sunny day. Free, ascending and descending, and embracing the breathtaking views of our world, physically, mentally, and spiritually. It looks different for everyone, but to me it’s always growing and looking for ways to pack into the stream of life.
Is there anything you wish you could share with anyone who is at the beginning of their recovery journey – or at any point in their recovery?
Life in recovery is so tremendously precious, rewarding, and fulfilling. No matter what point in recovery you’re at – not yet in recovery, early in recovery, established in recovery – there’s always a greater level of being and life to experience. And the difference between your current level of being and the beginning of your next level of being is always just one day. The beauty of that is we can all comprehend one more day.
Interested in reading more about addiction and substance use disorder recovery? Check out the other recovery stories we have on our blog.