Volunteering with Shatterproof offers me a sense of giving back to all the people who have helped me and my sons with recovery. I was motivated to get involved with an organization that would help end the paths leading to substance use disorder and overdoses – and build more paths to support and recovery for everyone touched by the disease of addiction.
My passion to volunteer for this cause stems from deep family tragedies. My three brothers all died directly or indirectly from drug and alcohol addiction. For years I talked with my boys about the dangers of substance use disorder and shared our family history.
It was so different when I was a child. I saw my brothers’ pain but there was little spoken about it and little we could do. I thought I would be able to keep my sons away from the possibility of developing a substance use disorder, but I was wrong. Both of my boys became addicted to opiates in college.
My early experiences taught me to speak up because I didn’t want to waste time worrying about what others might think. I concentrated only on getting information and support so I could help them recover. The paths my sons chose were different from one another and not always straight, but now they are both happy, healthy, and in recovery.
For the past four years, I have participated in and volunteered at numerous Shatterproof Rise Up Against Addiction events as both a speaker and greeter. When I connect with someone on a personal level at events like these, it fills me with a wonderful sense of connection and purpose that stays with me long after the conversation.
Being part of something larger than myself is a gift. I love being surrounded by people who are happy to stand together for a cause we all find worthwhile. I love knowing all those people attending either understand on a deep level what it means to be affected by substance use – or are learning what it means for the first time. Whether they walk solo or with a team, being at the event transforms everyone into one connected, supportive community filled with hope.
I hope you will consider volunteering at a Shatterproof Rise Up Against Addition 5K Walk/Run in your city this year. I know it will make a difference in your life and to those whom you care about.