Addiction can strike anyone, regardless of their socioeconomic status or how they look to outsiders. Whether someone is working a successful office job or playing nine seasons in the NFL, it’s possible that they’re hurting themselves and those they care about while trapped in the throes of addiction. This is exactly how Vance Johnson’s struggle with alcoholism progressed and is what motivated him to become the advocate he is today.
Vance Johnson’s Struggle with Addiction
While few who struggle with addiction become NFL stars, much of the rest of his story will be familiar. With a difficult family life and few healthy outlets to cope, his first drink quickly led to full-blown alcoholism.
A Troubled Start
Vance Johnson’s family had its own troubles as he was growing up, and while football was an escape it also became a point of pressure. One of the only things that his family would agree upon was the need to get him into the NFL, and when he finally made it he had a rough first month in the league and his future appeared to be in doubt. It was here that Vance first tried alcohol.
Rapid Decline Into Alcoholism
While many people experience a gradual decline into alcoholism, it was quick for Vance. After years without a healthy coping mechanism, he took the unhealthy coping mechanism that he found. From here, Vance experienced a steady decline into more severe alcoholism, drug abuse, domestic violence and self-harm.
Struggling Through Nine Seasons in the NFL
At the same time that Vance Johnson became a star in the Denver Broncos, he became increasingly dependent on drugs and alcohol to cope that he was often drunk or high during games. While he attended three Super Bowls in an impressive career, his teammates often had to get him to do pushups or run in an attempt to ensure he could focus on the game. Vance reports that he attempted suicide three times during his time in the NFL, and a tipping point came in 2008 as he sent himself to the hospital with a self-inflicted wound.
Sobriety and Advocacy
It took years of hard work, but Vance Johnson hasn’t touched drugs or alcohol since 2013. However, he didn’t do it on his own and acknowledged a debt to the 12-step programs, counseling, and the support of others. As such, he has since dedicated his life to helping others.
Becoming an Ambassador for America’s Rehab Campuses
Vance Johnson has dedicated himself to working on behalf of those who struggle with substance abuse across the Southwest, from his old home in Las Vegas to Tucson, Arizona. He’s signed on as a partner with America’s Rehab Campuses, a leading facility for treatment and recovery. Through this partnership, Vance and ARC each become more capable of raising awareness and spreading understanding throughout the American public.
Working on A&E’s “Intervention”
Vance Johnson is a believer in the value of interventions by family and friends to help convince someone they need to change. As such, he’s begun working as a counselor with the popular reality show Intervention from A&E.