Kitsap Crime and Justice

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Followup: John Wayne Houston Returns to his Roots

March 10th, 2010 by josh farley

John Houston is finally home. Working as a prevention intervention specialist in Renton schools, the 56-year-old is back in the place he grew up, according to a story by Adam McFadden in the Renton Reporter.

His life, as those who regularly read our paper know, took one heck of a detour.

I met Houston in late 2005 as part of a series on Bremerton’s high violent crime rate. Houston had lived for more than a decade on the streets of Bremerton, using, abusing and selling crack cocaine. Houston never believed he’d get out of that violent and helpless underworld.

But arrested by Bremerton police in 2004, he set out to change his life of addiction, one that held him for about 36 years. It wasn’t easy, but through Kitsap County Drug Court, he got on stable footing and set his sights on a new path — helping young people whose lives teetered on the verge of drug addiction like his. He graduated with an associate’s degree from Olympic College in 2008.

He’s since held jobs in Kitsap, Island County and finally, Renton, with the Puget Sound Educational Service District.

He still sends me — and several others blessed to know his amazing transition — a weekly email about his life. Recently he wrote about his time in Bremerton, and how it’s important to reflect on both the good days and the bad.

“I just remember waking up in the woods, soaked, hungry and hopeless. Just like those blue skies and greenness of the trees, I remember the ugliness of where my addiction took me. Just like with the skies and the trees, I must remember the ugliness in order for me to never return there again. Thank you for your support and I love you.”

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3 Responses to “Followup: John Wayne Houston Returns to his Roots”

  1. Linda Wanless Says:

    I’ve known John for over 40 years and his journey is an amazing story…one that he may soon publish! I’ve watched him in action as he comes to my school each year to talk to over 400 7th graders, making a difference by sharing his life with theirs. John not only gives inspiration and hope to those battling with addiction, but can inspire anyone with a life problem they are trying to overcome.

  2. Mary Burns Says:

    I reconnected with John a couple years ago but knew him since 1970 and what an inspiration he has been for me. The life John lived in the past and now what he shares and teaches others is amazing. He has an impact on so many people each day and I am so lucky to know John Wayne Houston.

  3. Jeri Lancaster( Forbes) Says:

    I knew John back in high school days. He was always high and acting out. It was only obvious that John wanted someone to pay attention to him. Some one that was lost and searching for something but didn\t know what it was at the time. I’m glad John had his hard awakening in life.It was his wake up call to help others going through similur situations in life. It was his purpose and journey to do this. I’m proud of John because a long time ago I understood why he acted the way he did.I’m happy and proud to have John as a friend. What more could one ask for.Hang in there sweetie your doing a fantastic job.

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