Local man, Louis Johnson’s holiday miracle was getting his children back after losing them due to drug addiction.
“I would always tell somebody in my situation, don’t quit. The miracle will come. It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be frustrating, but in the end, it’s going to pay off,” Johnson said.
“I was addicted to methamphetamines and opioids for 15 years. The (Department of Children Services) investigated me and took my children,” Johnson said.
Seeing that Johnson was a good potential candidate for the Coffee County Safe Baby Court program, authorities diverted him into an intensive outpatient (IOP) rehabilitation program and Safe Baby Court.
“Mike (Lewis Executive Director of the Recovery Court) asked to help me. He asked me to go to rehab, I took it. That was one of the things I had to do to get my kids back,” Johnson said.
Following rehab, IOP and Safe Baby Court stepped in to provide a foundation of life changes to offer Johnson the tools he would need to maintain his sobriety.
“I had classes twice a week, drug tested five times a week, and then three times to two times a week. I did everything they asked me to do. I got a job, transportation, license and a place to live,” he said.
“I got my kids back.”
Johnson cautioned that the process was never easy.
“Life keeps happening. You have to relearn — for so long you’ve always changed your mood whenever things didn’t go your way. Then you learn how to live and be happy and productive without drugs and alcohol.”
Getting his children back has been a miracle for Johnson.
“As I was in rehab I was going through it all, the stuff they asked me to do was the things that a parent is supposed to do. That was a little overwhelming, but when they come back, it’s in steps,” he said.
Supervised visitations led to solo visitation, which led to trial periods in the home, all leading up to permanent custody.
“For me, when I got out of rehab, I wanted my kids. And when they came back into the house, I guess, I was stressed out. I didn’t realize what it took to take care of six children. It was stressful, hard…(to provide everyday care) to do the things I’d never been a part of before,” Johnson said.
“(The program) walked me through it. Day by day. I’m proud of myself, my kids. It’s a wonderful feeling. The way they look at me now. They’re home and they don’t have to worry. They know it’s going to be okay,” Johnson said.
“This is definitely a miracle. I know there is a God. He freed me from all that. I’m truly blessed,” Johnson said.
Johnson graduated from Safe Baby Court Friday, Dec. 20, with four fellow fathers.