Born to Recover

No man is an island. That’s how the saying goes. The way I grew up, though, made me feel like I was. Those in recovery will understand another phrase: white-knuckling it. It describes a person who is abstinent, but hasn’t started the work of recovery. When I was in this condition, I was just one excuse away from relapsing. I came out of the womb white-knuckling it. From the moment I was born, nothing in …
I don’t write as someone in recovery from addiction. I write as one in recovery from my obsession with someone who has struggled with addiction. I write as the affected family member. I am the youngest of six. Four of my older siblings were born into my parents’ violent marriage. My dad was an alcoholic who quit drinking and became obsessed with religion and self-help just before the younger two of the six, my brother …
Facing Addiction delivered more than 15,000 signatures to the White House today. Why today? Because today is the 70th day since President Trump first promised he would declare a national emergency for the opioid crisis as recommended by his own Presidential Commission. In the last 70 days, 9,956 people have died. Countless others are in the grips of addiction waiting for an increase in resources for prevention, treatment, and recovery support services that can …
I lost my son Anthony on March 30, 2014 to a heroin overdose. My son had been in a motocross accident that resulted in a broken femur. He was prescribed pain medication that led him ultimately to heroin. I watched heroin take everything from my son. Being a mother to a child in active addiction is a hell I don’t wish on anyone. I never slept. When I knew my son was leaving the house, …
The day for me, the one that changed everything, was July 2, 1996. That was my first day in recovery. The date prior marked the last time I would use any drugs or alcohol. What an adventure that was. I remember walking into the emergency room that night. I had smoked a joint and finished a couple of bottles of beer in the parking lot in a friend’s mom’s minivan. We were both teenagers, he …
I was not in the public sector in 2001 when I got into recovery so I didn’t experience any stigma in that regard. But several years later, when I was more in the public spotlight, I really struggled with whether recovery was a part of my private life or my public life. I never lied, but I wasn’t always forthcoming when I referred to not drinking. But enough time and support groups and role models …

Facts About Addiction

My brother, Shane, died from a heroin overdose on March 27, 2015. He was 32 years old. He was funny, kind, and gave the best hugs! He leaves behind his entire family, including his son, parents, and me, his sister. Addiction is not a choice. My brother suffered from a terrible disease for 16 years. His family suffered alongside him. Addiction is an illness that affects family and the community, too. Addiction does not discriminate.
My name is Nancy and I work as a para-professional with special education children in Long Beach, New York. Each day I walk in my classroom and feel sad for those children whose lives may be taken away by the wrong choices. Once, my child, Jesse, was so full of life too. How I wish I could go back! Not a day goes by that I don’t wonder what my son would be doing if …
August 17, 2012 was just another day. I was slowly getting over what I dubbed the worst year of my teenage life, gaining confidence in myself. I’d found a friend group I thought I’d be around until I was old and senile. That day began a three-year journey I still struggle with, even with the recovery time I’ve racked up. My boyfriend at the time, a 19-year-old who lied about pretty much his whole life, …
Kayla Small

Going the Distance

To date, I’ve completed more than 75 marathons and ultra-marathons. In the 80s, 90s and early 2000s, I was an accomplished member of the local running community, and well respected as a mom, a professional, and an athlete. In truth, I was anxious and fearful, self-medicating with alcohol, and trying desperately to keep my struggles hidden. Over time, I began spiraling out of control. I finally entered treatment on April 17, 2006, and took my …