Profiles in Recovery

Justin Beattey

Waking up in the Emergency Room, Beattey felt the staples in his head as doctors patched him up after another blackout.

That was the catalyst for recovery, and Beattey’s transformation from drug user and convicted felon to a passionate peer mentor. Today, the Indiana resident coaches addicted men and women who are involved with the criminal justice system – helping them find their way to sobriety.

“This daily interaction reminds me of the all-to-close reality if I do not work on myself daily and continue my path of recovery,” Beattey says.

What he’s learned on his path to a meaningful life, he adds, is to value others. “The world has so much to offer if I simply allow myself to be involved with the people I come across and take the time to talk with and listen to what people share with me.”

Day Job:
Peer recovery coach

What I lost to addiction:
My self-worth and ability to care about those around me. I became a person who was self-centered and had the illusion of fulfillment and control when I manipulated life to my will.

At my worst, I was:
A multiple convicted felon and facing years of incarceration due to my poor choices while surviving in the depths of my substance use issues.

Rules I live by:
There are two things I can control, my thoughts and behaviors. I cannot control what others do or most of what happens in the world.

On my bucket list:
To have a positive impact in the world and be a contributing member of society. For many years, I was a burden on society and those around me financially, emotionally and physically. I strive to continue to grow as a person and offer the best of myself daily.

Moment of clarity:
When I realized that my poor choices and substance use issues may negatively affect my relationship with my then-girlfriend, now my wife, and our daughter. I decided that a change needed to happen, I was not sure what that change needed to be, yet I was going to try any options to change.

When cravings come:
I take a moment to evaluate my life before recovery and the beauty that it has become. I quickly realize that recovery is the reason I am happy and successful in my personal and professional life.

Best advice for newbies:
The path of recovery is not easy at times. You will deal with situations and emotions that your disease tells you to run from. By taking the time and effort to continue down a positive path, and face these fears, you can realize that we CAN and DO recover.

Stigma I face:
Society, in general, feels that those with a criminal past are just waiting to reoffend. We have our past used against us while we try to recover and grow.

I get inspired by:
People making a conscious effort to change themselves for the better. It is incredibly scary to begin a life of recovery . . . yet by staying positive and relying on your support system, the journey becomes more accessible.

How I get through the holidays:
With any situation where I feel it may become dangerous to my recovery, I am sure to have an ‘exit strategy.’  If possible, I take along people who support my recovery and I am sure to remove myself from any situation that makes me uncomfortable.

Thoughts on relapse:
Relapse is part of many people’s journey. It is not a requirement for long term recovery yet is a reality for many. The main key is to pick yourself up and get actively involved in recovery again.

What saves me from me:
It’s detrimental for me continue to remind myself that I cannot change the past.  All I can do is learn from my previous choices and continue to move myself forward on a positive path.

Proudest moment:
Understanding that now I am a person people want to be around. I am someone who others can rely on and my actions provide value to the world.

If you’re a person in long-term recovery who wants to share your insights, please contact us at [email protected].