METHOD Mag issue 12.2 is in stores now, and the feature interview this time is with Justin Bennee. It is a remarkably candid look into what it actually takes to be a professional snowboarder and we respect Justin even more after finding out about his story. Here's a little excerpt:
Can you elaborate a little bit on how you got hurt and what dealing with an addiction is like.
My back injury wasn't from anything specific, it kind of happened from years of flat landings and impact. When I got hurt a lot of my sponsors were wary about my being able to come back from it, I lost my board sponsor and fought to stay afloat with everyone else, it was rough. I was in so much pain from my back that I had my own doubts, but I knew I was gonna make it through.
I got a pretty crazy addiction to painkillers, and it didn't start recreationally. I was in so much pain that I actually needed to take them, but after a while having doctors tell you to just take the pills and live with the pain, I was in so deep I just couldn't see out. I was definitely hooked, taking a ridiculous amount of painkillers on a daily basis. One day I just pulled my head out of my ass and looked at where my life was at. I had to face the fact that I was an addict and injured, and I had to find a way to fix myself, hopefully find a doctor that could make me able to snowboard again. I quit taking pills cold turkey, going through the most horrific withdrawals you could imagine. I'm talking like no sleep for weeks, in constant throbbing pain every second of every day, I can't even put into words how awful this shit was. My brother had just come off a heroin addiction, and told me to prepare for the worst few months of my life... He wasn't kidding.
My girlfriend was huge for my recovery as well, she was by my side through the whole process and basically got me through it, I couldn't have done it without her. Months later I was clean with no rehab, my back was starting to feel stronger and it was the start of the season. Coming back to snowboarding was so hard, everything seemed so much crazier than before. I felt like I didn't know how to snowboard anymore, I hadn't done it in a year. My video part in the first Videograss movie was that year and I was somehow able to pull something together, but I don't think it was anything great. Finally everything has come back, years later, and I'm a stronger person having gone through that shit and showing everyone that I wasn't going to just disappear. All I wanna do now is keep progressing and furthering my snowboarding adventures.
This is Justin's full part from the first VG movie: