Anne Emerson
Tell us about your (or your loved one's) recovery journey. What has been the most rewarding part?

Being an addict and loving another addict I have gotten to see both sides of the fence when it comes to the affects addiction has on life. It's devastating to see the pain I've caused and its devastating to feel the pain being caused by a loved one who was an addict. But through blood, tears, pain, and some laughter, imagine that, I fought a battle most never will, a battle that gave me strength, hope, love and loss. All of those things shaped me into who I am today, and today I am a far better person than I was yesterday.

Do you have a message for the Shatterproof community?

Tough love, its difficult to give and accept. If I could give any advice it would be to give love, offer support and have hope when turning to tough love. Its not enabling to love an addict or to have hope. Give the right kind of support, offer to go to a meeting, or walk to the park. Just dont turn your back and walk away. If I hadn't had the support I did from my dad, mom, son and other family members and friends, god knows where I'd be.. But it sure wouldn't be this beautiful spot I am today.

I didn't wake up one day and think "today's the day I am going to become addicted to a monster, destroy my life while hurting the ones who love me along the way". I made a choice to use the 1st time, a choice that turned into a disorder, substance use disorder. But let's get one thing straight, I'm not a victim I am a survivor.
Crystal meth came into my life when I was 20 years old. Not going to lie, my first thoughts were "where have you been all my life?" I had energy, I could go all day and night. The occasional weekend use soon became an everyday occurrence. The days I ran out, meant days out of work. Days out of work lead to months out of work. But I had no drug problem. Are you kidding me? I worked full time as a medical assistant, showed up for work every day, was a great employee. At home, I had all my bills paid, a brand new house I built from the ground up. So again, a drug problem, me? Ha.. Yeah denial is not a River in Egypt. And I continued living in denial until all the things I had going for me in my life started to disappear. The job, the house, the car, my life...
I battled with meth addiction for many years, with good solid years of sobriety in between my times of use. Out-patient treatment, in-patient treatment, relapse prevention, I did it all. Along with legal consequences, a 3rd-degree drug possession charge, that would lead me to prison for 13 months, 4 1/2 years after being convicted. 13 months of living away from my son, family, and friends. You sure do some heavy thinking sitting behind those prison walls. Soul searching. Trying to figure out where, how and why you keep going back to that drug that shows no sign of remorse. Trust with loved ones lost, rebuilt, lost and rebuilt but will never truly be the same. My one and only brother, who I was once close with, still to this day, doesn't speak to me. Hey it's National Siblings day—I'm in recovery, been sober, doing great for the most part, and the pain that hits your heart when you see other posting their sibling photos. Wishing you could post yours, if you only had one. Suddenly you're thinking how important it is to make amends to all your relationships. Even if they don't want to speak to you, write and send them a letter. Why? Well because we spend enough time messing with guilt and shame, at least I did. Sadly, it took losing my fiance to a heroin overdose for me to STOP being stubborn and to let go of a lot of things, negative things that I'd been hanging onto, only keeping me sick inside.
Today I no longer feel angry or have resentments toward my brother for still not talking to me even though I've been working hard at putting my life back together. Trust takes time and is earned. And as long as I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing, it's on him as to whether or not he chooses to notice.
Recovery is different for each of us. Some do meetings, get a sponsor, meditation, advocate for addicts lost and still suffering, becoming close with your higher power. No two lives in recovery look the same, except they're both sober. Making a plan that fits me, not what fits because science says so, is how I do my recovery.
Journaling my thoughts, choosing new hobbies such a photography, different art projects, becoming aware of my spiritual beliefs and my higher power are parts of my recovery plan.
Its amazing how good one feels inside when they can let go of unnecessary ick and grow closer to their higher power. Today, I am not the person I was, even just yesterday. I have worked hard to get to where I am, despite I'm not fully where I want to be, but don't even think for a minute of using my past against me. That person doesn't exist anymore, so let her go. Today I am given opportunities to be an advocate in the war against opioids. As an ambassador for Shatterproof, I get to educate and bring awareness to my community, something that wouldn't be possible without recovery.
***the day he died, half her heart went with him. Now she fights twice the fight, with half the heart. That's why she is a survivor, not a victim!!"