RICHMOND, Ky. (WKYT)- Valentine's Day is about celebrating those we love, but one central Kentucky couple's love story started in a place most might not think, in recovery from addiction.
Everyday men and women find sobriety at the Hope Center in Lexington.
The programs there can be life changing for those ready to leave addiction behind and find a new path.
While many credit the Hope Center for giving them a new start, Mike and Marie St. John are thankful to have found a love story in the midst of their own recovery.
Making a house a home is the goal for many people, the St. Johns of Richmond, Ky. are no exception.
On the walls of their home, pictures and perhaps it's a sign that sums up the St. Johns best, "happiness is a journey, not a destination."
The St. Johns are on a new journey, their toddler Korbin is a Valentine's Day reminder of just how far they have come together.
"My wife walked in and said I have you an early Valentine's Day present. I'm like it's a pair of shoes or pants and she hands me a pregnancy test and says, hey babe I'm pregnant, happy Valentine's Day, I love you," said Mike St. John.
That was 2018, Mike was already planning to propose and he did!
They got married and started a family, but there was a time, just a few short years ago this couple would tell you they could barely take care of themselves, let alone a child.
"I picked up my first prescription pill at 21. I remember today sitting here what that feeling was like," said Mike St. John.
"In 2011 I gave up, I gave up on living, trying to be anybody other than just jail. That's all I cared about. I cared about getting high and not feeling anything," said Marie St. John.
Before they knew one another, they shared addiction on different paths and both hit rock bottom hard.
"The day that I was going to commit suicide my mom walked in on me and I see the hurt in my mom's eyes and she said son you need to get help,” said Mike St. John.
"I realized I didn't even have enough people that cared enough about me to do an intervention, I had burned every one of those bridges and that was the hardest moment of clarity I've ever been through in my life," said Marie St. John.
Time spent getting high is now replaced on their calendar with upcoming speaking engagements about recovery.
A magnet on the refrigerator of the St. John home reminds this couple of a place that saved their lives, the Hope Center.
"Being dropped off at the homeless shelter in Lexington, Ky. June, 1 2016 that is when I said that fox hole prayer that we've all said, but I really meant it because I was alone with a backpack, a pair of tennis shoes and myself," said Mike St. John.
"I went to my parole officer, I didn't want parole anymore and I said please put me somewhere in long term recovery because I needed help and they sent me to the Hope Center," said Marie St. John.
Through recovery at the Hope Center in Lexington Mike and Marie not only found their sobriety, but they learned to love themselves and in turn found love for each other.
"He loves me for me, unconditionally. He supports me, he lifts me up, he is my everything," said Marie St. John.
After completing the program, Marie and Mike got married in 2018, nothing fancy-they didn't need it.
Now their memories are happy, the walls of their home a reminder of family, blessings and a faith in a higher power and themselves.
"I worked really hard to get this, it took me 11 months," said Marie St. John of her completion certificate from the Hope Center.
"A lot of people look at these completion certificates as just a piece of paper, but I cherish mine. Every morning I wake up and I look at it," said Mike St. John.
The love story of Mike and Marie St. John might be unconventional, but it’s still a love story.
It is about two people falling in love who had a little harder journey than most to find each other.
"True happiness in recovery that's where we are at today," said Mike St. John.
If you need help the Hope Center is just a phone call away, find more information by clicking on the link provided.