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A former drug addicts’ journey of becoming a therapist and teacher

Read about John’s journey of leaving his life as a drug addict behind with the support and help from KRIS Lifestyle Coordinator program.
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My name is John, a 33-year-old former drug addict that was affiliated with a gang in Stockholm. Seven years ago a chain of events led me to defect from the lifestyle I was living in, I stood in no-man land. I had no vision, no dreams, and no hope. I had escaped my hometown and was deeply threatened and hunted by my old ‘friends’. There were a rough couple of years when I tried to adjust from my old ways of living to a healthier and more ‘normal’ way of living my life. At one point I tried to get into the University but was rejected as I hadn’t studied for many years and was lacking the grades. It was at this point I was approached by Ali.R, one of the founders of KRIS’s Lifestyle Coordination program. As I had nothing to lose, I decided to give it a try.
I knew I wanted to work in a profession that worked with people, and it did not take long for me to feel that I was in the right place whit the right teachers in the best of classes. I finalized the course, it helped me grow as a person but also as a professional counselor for those whit addictions and/or criminal lifestyles. The program was a turning point for me, and I felt this was the of a new life and career.
After the program, I decided to take part in the program for an additional year to become a licensed alcohol and drug counselor. Ever since I have continued my educational path. After two years I was offered a job within the social services as a group therapist in Falkenberg kommun. I was then headhunted by a treatment center in Norrköping as a group therapist and teacher to educate other therapists in the subjects of shame, violence, and criminal gangs and defectors. I’m also developing a new unit at the treatment center that will work specifically whit defectors from gangs.
Any of this would not have been possible without the Lifestyle Coordinators program, the starting point for my career as a mental health practitioner. I am now finally about to start some classes at the University of Linköping in positive psychology. I have a great life and career. The coordinator’s program helped me find my strengths and my potential. It made me believe in myself and my life. It filled me whit curiosity and courage and a lot of knowledge about addiction, recovery, and trauma.
The program has the means to change lives in ways that are hard to imagine. It has changed my life deeply and profoundly. When I am writing this, I am soon seven years clean and free from my old life and have a career and job that I love.
John Andersson
Former student of the Lifestyle Coordinator program