by Verne Johnson
I was born Verne Johnson on May 22nd in Rockford, IL. For most of my prime years, I was known has a former gang member, drug dealer and addict in the Rockford Region. After years of running the streets and running from God’s calling on my life I finally surrendered. In 1999 I got myself into church, and begin working with some of the men in the church that had the same struggles such as: gang violence, drug dealing, incarceration, drug use and growing up fatherless.
A couple years later I started to volunteer my time to help others, as my enter man started to change so did my outer man. I started volunteering at the Rockford Rescue Mission and Salvation Army, serving food to the less fortunate. I realized by helping others I was helping myself. In 2001 I worked four years without pay helping Rockford M.E.L.D individuals. A program for young mothers and fathers. As a mentor and facilitator I ran the educational groups for young men in and out of the program. I slowly started to see the calling on my life a bit clearer, after talking with an old friend about needing good men like myself to work with recovering addicts and alcoholics at Rosecrance Treatment Center. I would think about it for about a year,
In April 2005 I started my career at Rosecrance Treatment Center in Rockford, Illinois. For over ten years the Lord has blessed me with the ability and wisdom to work and help recovering addicts and alcoholics (at some of the most difficult times of their lives), while also maintaining my own recovery. I will have thirteen years clean in February 2012.
In October 2009 I published and released my autobiography called “When Tears Fall.” It was a major stepping stone in my life. For eighteen years I’ve been writing everything from poetry, short stories and plays. I was never in a finical position to get any of my work published, but I never gave up on my dreams to become a published author.
When Tears Fall is a self-published book that I am very proud of, it has gotten much attention the reviews I’ve received from my readers are all rewarding, humbling and sometimes overwhelming.
I am now in a position to publish my second book called “DOPE a Novel by Verne Johnson.” It’s about the life of a young man growing up in an upper middle class family, whose life will be completely taking over by a heroin addiction. It’s due for release in mid-2012.
By the time, When Tears Fall hit the World Wide Web I started receiving calls, emails and text messages. People wanted me to come to their facilities and centers to speak and tell my story.
At the time I hadn’t done many public speaking, just in front of my clients on the job. I knew it was not that different it were just more people.
I talked to my wife about it she told me that I would do a great job as a speaker. She said I had a way of drawing people into my pain, sadness, joy, and laughter. I took my wife’s advice, called my designer and the rest history. For the entire year of 2011 ten of the twelve months was booked for facilities and center such as: Rockford Public Library, Rockford Youthbuild, DHS Office in Rockford IL, Rocecrance 1st annual Retreat, National Gang Crime Research Center, BNNS Radio, Church of God in Christ in Elgin IL, Winnebago County Jail, Illinois Youth Center in St Charles, IL, Flinn Middle School, 13 WREX just to name a few.
My beloved wife also works as an addiction counselor at Rosecrance. In June 2010 she received her Master degree in community counseling from National Louis University in Chicago, IL. In 2008 we both developed an educational curriculum and two clinical counseling programs for recovery addicts, alcoholics, and men coming out of the penal system. We are looking to start a learning center in the city of Rockford which incorporates group work, education, and spiritual guidance for individuals who are new in recovery, as well as individuals who need extra support.
I am a father, husband, published author, life motivational speaker, and substance abuse counselor who loves life with my family and friends.
New Life Learning Center will be coming soon to Rockford. It will be an educational center to help individual with continue short and long-term support.
To order copies of When Tears Fall go to www.amzon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com. To write a review or invite Verne to speak at your next event please email me at [email protected] 815-713-0203 cell
Please view my need book trailer at www.kickstarter.com type in Dope A Novel by Verne Johnson