I am the 1 in 3. One of my earliest memories is of my younger self in the kitchen mixing drinks for my family members. Surrounded by fun and social lubricants, by 8 I knew how to mix a mean White Russian, as well as a virgin Shirley Temple for my siblings. As a teen, my grades faltered as I entered into reckless behavior, experimenting with drugs and alcohol, continually seeking out codependent relationships. I lived what I knew.
As an adult, I married an addict. For 18 years I lived with the chaos and struggle of watching loved ones wrestle with addiction. Addiction touches all corners of my family, and my father, brothers and sister also struggled with various opioid and alcohol dependencies. While my spouse and family spiraled out of control, I found help and hope in talk therapy and peer to peer support groups like Al-Anon.
Although I lost the marital home, tens of thousands of dollars and, ultimately, my marriage, I never lost my dignity or sense of community. I committed to myself and to my children to make lemonade from lemons, and I volunteer for a local teen awareness group and our Municipal Alliance. I know now, addiction is not a reflection on me as a wife, manager, mother or daughter -- it's a disease that happens to some of the most brilliant, loving and creative individuals.
Today, my ex-husband is in recovery. We share the joy of two amazing boys ages 15 and 17, both of whom love, understand and support their father without judgment. This year, I've been honored with the Governor's Council Volunteer of the Year Award for Hunterdon County.
My name is Tina and I'm a 46-year-old real estate professional, re-married to another 1-in-3 who supports and advocates beside me to raise awareness for addiction.