Joni Mattern is from Rugby and has been sober for six years. Her recovery story is like most — raised in a dysfunctional home and both parents struggled with drugs and alcohol.
When she was nine years old her mom almost died from a cardiac arrest. So that took a toll on her as a child. Mattern said there was also domestic violence in her home, which kept other families from allowing their kids to come over… so she felt alone.
She said she was automatically marked as a bad influence.
Mattern said she just wanted to fit in as a child and so she did what other kids around her did and began using drugs to cope with life at a young age. She had her first taste of alcohol when she was 13 and tried meth when she was 19. After that, she was hooked.
She said she kept doing it was because it helped her numb the pain of being rejected.
When she was 21, she began getting in trouble with the law. Soon after she got pregnant with her son, Andrew. She said having her son helped her get sober for about eight years.
It was when a friend died that she ended up relapsing on meth so she didn’t have to feel the pain of losing a loved one. Later, her dad died and that pushed her deeper into her addiction.
When her son was 10, she ended up getting arrested again and that put her in prison.
Throughout the process of going to prison and treatment, she realized she had to do something different. She said she had a “Come to Jesus Moment.”
“You have nothing else to think about besides what you’ve done,” said Mattern. “So I tried praying and reading the Bible.”
Thankfully, she said, this helped her get sober and now she wants to help others that struggle with the disease of addiction.
Now she is attending college in Minot to become a licensed addiction counselor. She hopes to get her masters in mental health, she is a certified peer support specialist and is training to be a care coordinator through Free Through Recovery.
Her advice: Ask for help. There are so many resources out there to get plugged into.
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