Resolana: Courtney's Story

“My self-esteem is intact again.”

Courtney Johnson
Resolana_-_Courtney_Johnson.jpg

It was 2014 and Courtney Johnson was in the Dallas County Jail. Based on the drug charges she heard in court she knew she would be here a while. She had no family. No money. No one to come see her. And she wasn’t even 30 years old.

One day, she looked through the windows of her jail pod to another across the way where prisoners were doing yoga “I thought, ‘I want to do yoga.’ Someone told me it was a program pod for Resolana.” Courtney made the move and found more than a yoga class. Resolana is the trauma and addiction treatment program run by Volunteers of America Texas. Weeks of detoxing was followed by immersion in Resolana’s holistic treatment approach, an approach that touched Courtney where it hurt.

Courtney’s hurt started in California, where her drug addicted father abused her mother. Courtney and her mother finally left, moving to Oklahoma where the focus became education. A self-proclaimed nerd and good kid, Courtney was a straight A student. But after the tragic loss of a newborn, Courtney’s mother snapped and left. “That’s when the recreational drug use started,” Courtney says.

In college, she learned to sell drugs. She still did well, graduating with a degree in criminology and sociology. Then, one month after graduation, her mother died. “That was the day I started using heroin,” she says. Trouble with the police soon followed so she packed up for a move to Dallas where she had drug contacts. The arrest in Dallas in 2014, however, brought it all to a head and landed her in jail.

In Resolana now, it was after a 12-step group meeting that the angry and agnostic Courtney was privately challenged by Program Director Lesley Mohney to “play a game” of just asking for things, entertaining the idea of spirituality, and journaling. Bored, she decided to play along, silly as it seemed to be talking to herself. But things started happening. An unexpected letter offering encouragement from a stranger in her past. Help for a fellow inmate whose allergy to a cleaning agent caused horrible problems. Courtney heard her start coughing one night. “I wish they would get her some help,” she thought. This time, they did.

What “sealed the deal,” she said, was reading a Bible and finding John 14:14, a scripture that says to ask. Courtney came to an understanding of God and His ability to help her get cleaned up.

After her release, Courtney experienced a few relapses. But by September 2017, she was finally clean. And she was no longer alone. An uncle who had searched for her for 20 years found her and became part of her life. She married. Courtney now works in real estate during the day and in the evenings teaches intensive and supportive outpatient rehabilitation for court-mandated clients.

“My self-esteem is intact again,” Courtney says. Plus, she no longer just wishes. Rather, she prays every day. “It took a lot of work, a lot of counseling and it wouldn’t have happened without Resolana.” There is a solution to problems like hers, she adds. “But you’ve got to let somebody else help you. Even if you think it won’t work, you’ve got nothing to lose.”