23 March 2017
John Halpin was the last person to realize what everyone around him already knew: He was an addict.
Now a substance abuse counselor living with his wife and children at Lake Monticello, 30-odd years ago Halpin was living in a friend’s basement in his native southern New Jersey. The drinking and drug use that had once been “a lot of fun” had turned into something destructive.
Halpin grew up in an environment where drug and alcohol abuse was common and where alcohol, in particular, was always around. “It would have been unusual if I didn’t drink,” he said.
Like many who develop substance abuse problems, he didn’t recognize that his need to keep using was not a matter of choice but rather a physical dependence that became harder and harder to rationalize away. “I wasn’t really working,” he said of those days. “My family had written me off.” He was facing multiple DUIs and drug possession charges. To top it off, he crashed his car and went through the windshield, causing injuries to his face and eyes that required several rounds of plastic surgery to repair. “Not just emotionally and not just spiritually, but physically...I was in pretty bad shape,” he said.