Taron Sargsyan, a former Disneyland employee, openly shared his journey of addiction and redemption in a Business Insider essay.
Sargsyan’s ordeal began during his 2014 summer internship at Disney, a period marred by personal struggles and a descent into methamphetamine addiction.
Disney engineer Sargsyan’s turbulent journey: Addiction, identity, financial crisis
This addiction spiraled out of control as he joined Disney as a software engineer on the Photopass team after college.
Sargsyan, grappling with the challenges of coming out as gay to his Armenian immigrant family, found himself in a financial crisis, with most of his income going towards drugs and supporting his family.
Sargsyan plunges into 24,000-dollar corporate debt
The situation reached a critical point when Sargsyan accumulated a $24,000 debt on his corporate credit card, primarily to fund his drug habit.
He recounted, “I convinced myself I’d pay it back, but I was getting in over my head.”
Sargsyan’s redemption: Confession, compassionate response from Disney
In early 2017, following a stranger’s advice, Sargsyan took the courageous step of confessing his “mistake” to his manager, fearing severe consequences like termination or legal action.
However, Disney’s response was unexpectedly compassionate. “The company gave me a chance to pay it back and left me with a formal warning. This was a big turning point in my life,” Sargsyan wrote.
Sargsyan’s journey: From family loan to career crisis at Disney
Sargsyan’s family assisted him with a loan to clear the debt, and he focused on repaying the company throughout that year.
Inspired by Disney’s gesture, he attempted rehab but faced repeated setbacks, failing six times. His battle with addiction reached a nadir on July 17, 2018, when he was broke, estranged from his friends and family, and on the brink of losing his job.
Tustin rehab facility gives Sargsyan a new lease of life
In this despair, Sargsyan sought help by searching for “rehab for professionals” online. This led him to a life-altering rehab facility in Tustin, California.
The people he met there resonated with him, evoking memories of his childhood and innocence. This experience not only catalyzed his recovery but also improved his family relationships.
Disney’s compassion a catalyst for Sargsyan’s healing, accountability
Reflecting on his journey, Sargsyan acknowledged, “Disney showed me that compassion can be a powerful force to inspire forgiveness and accountability. I learned that without self-forgiveness and accountability, healing from addiction is impossible.”
Although Sargsyan no longer works for Disney, he deeply appreciates the company’s role.
Sargsyan gets a second chance from Disney
He credits Disney with giving him a second chance and helping unlock the power of his imagination.
At the time of his essay, Disney had not commented on Sargsyan’s story.
A tale of empathy, support in overcoming addiction
His narrative sheds light on the complexities of addiction, the importance of seeking help, and the impact of empathy and support in the workplace.
Sargsyan’s journey from the depths of addiction to a path of recovery highlights the transformative power of human compassion and the potential for second chances, even in the most challenging circumstances.