Missions Inc. Programs’ CEO Jim Steinhagen has a lot in common with many of Missions Inc.’s residents. Steinhagen is 44+ years clean and sober.
Jim’s story started when he was 15 and transferred to a new school, he wanted to fit in and started drinking with the football team. As high school continued, Jim experimented other drugs, including drugs he told himself he’d never do.
“When I started shooting heroin, my life really took a downward turn, like falling off a cliff.”
At age 19, Jim’s parents and a sister staged an intervention. Watching his father choke up at the thought of him dying convinced Jim to enter treatment.
Treatment was the first time Jim had ever heard chemical dependency discussed as a disease, he began to understand his addiction.
Jim began his recovery journey in January of 1976 and has been clean ever since.
After one year of sobriety, he was offered a job at the treatment center where he received services and he’s worked in the treatment field ever since, working his way up to his position as CEO of Missions Inc. Programs.
“Recovery gives me a choice and in addiction, I lost that because everything was centered around that next high. Having a choice is a real gift.”
For many of the chemical dependency residents at Missions Inc. Jim’s story is one of success and reassurance. Knowing he has walked in their shoes, many in recovery may feel a level of comfort discussing their own struggles with him, he explained.
For some residents, Jim believes it may be beneficial to see him in the role he’s in but for others just seeing that long term recovery is possible is a good thing.
“One of the many benefits of recovery, is being able to look in the mirror and like who I am.”
Jim’s advice to those on their recovery journey is to understand this isn’t something you can do alone.
“We need to be around other people who are going through the same thing. Surround yourself with people who are walking the same path of recovery as you are and commit to becoming the best possible version of yourself.”
If you are struggling with substance abuse or chemical dependency, Missions Inc. Programs can help. Give us a call at 763.559.4249 or find us online at www.missionsinc.org/our-services/chemical-and-behavioral-health-services/.
If you need help with substance use or chemical dependency outside the Twin Cities, Minnesota area, please reach out to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) hotline at 1-800-662-4357.