Sometimes the process of recovery doesn’t go as planned. But a local man who you’ve met on KX News before isn’t about to throw in the towel.
“Chaos, living in shelters, sleeping on the streets,” said Mark Johnstone, describing his life of addiction to alcohol.
Johnstone got hooked on alcohol when he was 13 and after high school he found himself working at a job that fit his lifestyle of drinking.
“It was perfect you know. Best job you could ever have when you can drink and work at the same time,” Johnstone explains.
Eventually, his behavior and recklessness landed him in prison for 10 years. When he got out he went back to the bottle and became homeless, eventually hitchhiking his way to North Dakota.
Then, in July 2014, something changed.
“I was at 16th street and Rosser and I just sat down and I prayed to the Lord and I asked Him for help,” said Johnstone.
He got a home, a relationship, and a job at the State Capitol where he made some new friends.
“He was just a nice, caring thoughtful guy that made sure we got into and out of the capital every day,” said Erin Oban/ Democratic State Senator. “I think like any job you know, you form relationships with people that you work with and you come to care about them.”
You might remember this from last year: North Dakota lawmakers surprised Mark with a new car. But between then and now, he stumbled after a bad break-up.
“It took me back to my old ways. I lost my apartment. I lost my job,” said Johnstone.
On December 29. 2019, he found himself back in treatment and has been sober since and with a little help from his friends, he is now staying at the F5 Project.
“I don’t know how anybody can, you know, take those next steps forward without stable living environments,” said Oban.
“I live in a house with 7 guys we gotta pay for our own food. Rent is about $500 a month,” said Johnstone.
And Mark’s advice to anyone struggling …
“Make a phone call. I’ll talk to you. I can help you get that help,” said Johnstone.
His number is 701-595-9833.
He says once you get over the hump of not thinking about alcohol anymore, you can live in freedom not having to look over your shoulder for the rest of your life.
We have a whole page dedicated to Road to Recovery stories.. you can find those here.