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Recovering Addict Earns Two Master's Degrees

on Monday, 07 May 2012. Posted in Voices in Recovery, Breaking News, Cocaine

Recovering Addict Earns Two Master's Degrees

John Swanton claims that for 25 years, he was a full-time crack addict. According, this Kansas City man lost a successful business and his home, which eventually left him living on the streets.

On Friday night, he walked across the stage at UMKC to accept his masters degree in business. Swanton said, "We knew what we were. We were addicts, junkies." He spent anywhere from $300 to $3,000 a day to support his habit. He said, "I ran businesses for the sole purpose of getting more drugs."

Eventually, his habit cost him that business, as well as his home. Swanton said, "At a variety of different points, cocaine became more important than employment, rent, or running a business." In 2006, he found himself on the steps of the Kansas City Rescue Mission.

"A bunch of avenues opened up from there," Swanton said. He committed to a residential textrecovery program, which led to a scholarship to UMKC's Block School of Business. Swanton was free of drugs for the first time since he was a teenager. He said, "Just a member of society. Because we weren't members of society in that environment."

He earned a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration, and at the age of 49, he had earned another masters. He earned two Master's Degrees in two years. He said, "I do have more days behind me than in front of me. I know that. So I'm kind of in a rush." He hopes to re-open his failed business. He said, "All I seek to do in what I do going forward is to reflect the support that I got."

Swanton claims The Missouri Department of Secondary Education Vocational Rehab Program paid for his tuition and books. He realizes he is worth more as a productive member of society than being supported on the streets.

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