I absolutely hate what people and families are experiencing as a result of our country’s opioid epidemic. We are losing our loved ones on a daily basis and I want nothing more than for this devastation to finally stop.
Sadly, I know this subject all too well. I have lost more than 40 people in my life to opioid overdoses and I do not want to see another amazingly talented, creative, intelligent, and kind human being lose their life to this disease. This level of destruction is only one piece to my story. I am a child of someone who struggled with substance use for many years. I am a friend, family member, and partner to outstanding individuals who have struggled, and are still struggling, to free themselves from the dark chains of addiction. And in the most personal way, I myself struggled with opioid addiction for many, many years.
Just when I thought I couldn’t get any closer to this issue, I decided to go back to school and get a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling to help individuals affected by mental illness and addiction. Now, I am pursuing a doctoral degree in psychology so I can use my clinical expertise to help change someone’s life. But I am not stopping there.
I have decided to turn my pain into passion and share my story of recovery with the hope of inspiring others to move away from the darkness and into the light. Today, I am thriving in recovery and know how tangible this is for everyone else who is where I was. The truth is, I am not special. There is nothing unique about me that has allowed me to do what I am doing today. It took bravery, perseverance, stubbornness (but in a productive way this time) and lots of self-compassion to get to where I am. I am certain that you can do it too.
To all the moms, dads, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, spouses, partners, loved ones, and friends out there that are doing their best to support people like me, I hope you'll take these next words to heart: You could never hate us or our disease more than we do when we are in active addiction.
On a daily basis, we are consumed with the shame, guilt and disappointment we feel for destroying you and ourselves. Even on the worst days, please remember that compassion and kindness go a long way. More often than not, we need your embrace more than we need your rejection. Love us through this until we get it right. Most importantly, help us not die before we make it there. Please try to understand that hiding beneath our "bad behavior" lies an amazing human being worth knowing. Stick this out with us until you get to meet us at the finish line.
To all of you still struggling, please know that I believe in you even when you feel like nobody else does. Shatterproof is bringing us all together, fighting for you even when you don’t have the energy to fight for yourself.
I promise you that even on your darkest day in recovery, it’ll never be worse than your best day when using. There’s a reason why no one in recovery ever said they regretted it. I am one of those people. You can be too.