Recovery is the New Cool

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

My name is Aleksa, and I am beyond grateful to have another chance at life with the help of my family, who refused to let me die. I was able to find my way to long-term recovery on 7/19/2015. The disease of addiction is a fatal disease, 200 people die from it every day and I was almost one of these statistics. Many people are too ashamed to ask for help, and feeling so much guilt about having the disease, they hide and suffer in silence. That was me.

I am extremely passionate about recovery. I am an amazing girl, but addiction had me completely in its claws, and I lost hope that I could ever get out. Today, I will do anything and everything to help others and to give them a glimmer of hope. If I did it, anyone can.

I became open about my recovery after Recovery Fest in RI and by finishing Ryan Hampton's book (American Fix), literally a few days prior. Both fueled me to do more. My best friend Dorota Trojak and I formed a nonprofit organization called Glorious Recovery, and one week later, once we got involved, we realized how much work there is to be done and how much more there is to learn.

I want to share my story because everything I have done to date, others can do as well. Anything that anyone does can result in domino effect with an exponentially growing recovery community, which can help, support, and love those affected by addiction. I am sharing my story because EVERYONE needs to know that recovery is possible, addiction is not a choice nor a weakness, and those who are struggling need to come out of the darkness and seek help. I am loud and proud, and everyday I show the world what recovery looks like and that underneath the ugly symptom of addiction, we are all beautiful, incredible, loving, and intelligent people, and we deserve the same treatment, same care, and same compassion as other victims of fatal diseases.

Do you have a message for the Shatterproof community?

The recovery world is really big. Get involved! You don't need to be rich and famous to help others who are still suffering in silence. There are so many incredible individuals dying and our local community is devastated by the number of our friends recently passing. It's absolutely heartbreaking every time I see another RIP on the news or on Facebook. Despite the complexity of the epidemic, every single one of us can play a small part to create change. And be the change we need in so many areas. Better treatment available to everyone, a loving approach to prevention so our youth listen to us rather than ignore, more support for all pathways of recovery, and educate our communities on the disease of addiction to reduce the stigma. We need the recovery and non-recovery community to come together and celebrate substance-free life. And lastly, become a SURVIVOR. We are not victims, we are all survivors of this awful disease. The fact that we made it against all odds, where every fiber of our body said we can't do this anymore, but our minds screamed I can't stop, that is pure hell. So for those of us still among the living, let's help those who have lost hope, help those who do not have a voice, and let's save lives TODAY!