Turning darkness into a bright future
The Colorado native grew up in Evergreen, attended college in Boulder and landed in Breckenridge, settling down in Summit County 18 years ago. He loved the mountain lifestyle, skiing everyday and working in the service industry. Eventually he opened Northside Pizza in Breckenridge. He admits that the majority of the last 20 years of his life revolved around alcohol. What started as college experimentation and partying in Boulder turned into a daily occurrence in Breck. Soon drinking after a shift and wandering down main street exploring the numerous bars was his routine.
Dulling the pain
“Looking back, I wouldn’t be living with the level of freedom I have now without living through that dark time,” explains John, “I realized the only thing stopping me from the future I wanted was myself.”
John knew this time that he needed recovery assistance and began working with the IAMACOMEBACK organization. This program helped change his mindset and perspective to focusing on the future, combined with a healthy dose of self-accountability. “What really changed my life was taking personal responsibility for things and learning to listen to myself, respect myself, and love myself. I began to learn the value of my time on this Earth and what I wanted my life to look like.”
Self-accountability turns to healing
Although John is proud to be approaching his year of sobriety, he doesn’t always suggest counting the days of success. He looks at his recovery as a lifestyle shift and each day is a blank slate. He has found success in setting a regular routine, which includes spending 10 minutes each morning quietly setting his daily intentions. John also participates in journaling and writing. And, of course, he spends time skiing and hiking and finds nature brings him clarity. Spending time with his wife and kids again brings him the ultimate joy, happily reunited and providing his family the best version of himself. John is hopeful that sharing his story will benefit other people in our community. He also suggests asking for help or finding a program that works best for you.
John and his daughter
There are many options. “I love people. I want them to have a better life for themselves, to awaken their future and get away from distractions. My story proves that struggles can be turned into opportunities. Take action everyday in your present life to create your dream future,” John concludes.
Story by Alyse Piburn, special projects writer for Building Hope Summit County. If you have a story to share, reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Photos submitted by John Pallaoro.