If you don’t know that you’re standing on the train tracks, do you even bother looking for the oncoming train?
Addiction was like that for me and my family. My parents didn’t know what to look for when it came to my addiction to opioids, and I didn’t even know I was addicted either until WebMD told me that the excruciating pain I was experiencing was in fact opioid withdrawal. It took us all by surprise, and despite increased awareness over the past few years, the deadly disease of addiction continues to catch good people off guard every single day. There is an opiate epidemic, specifically among young people in America today, and everybody knows someone who has been affected. Chances are, that person is you, or someone you love.
It has been over a decade since I took my first opioid, and quite a few years since I took my last. I believe very firmly that everything happens for a reason, and the reason I went through everything I did was so that I can help others prevent it before it happens, and deal with it in the unfortunate event that it does happen. I am very lucky to have survived this disease, so I am beyond proud to dedicate my life to helping others overcome it.
Advocacy and education are the focus of my work, and I am honored to be viewed as someone who is knowledgeable on topics related to addiction. My philosophy is centered around being as open and honest as possible and holding nothing back, in order to best impact those I work with. I believe there is no “right way” to get sober, and that each of us gets to define what recovery means for us. My work today involves speaking to kids in schools, speaking to parents at various educational forums and workshops, and helping teachers, administrators, politicians, and even those in the medical field better understand the unique issues associated with addiction and mental health issues.
As a survivor of mental illness and addiction, I have struggled to walk among the “normal” people of the world. I’ve had to make my own way and learn to love the person that I am, rather than the person I sometimes wish I could be or the person others expect me to be. This makes me uniquely qualified as a speaker to help motivate and encourage others to love the person they are, and find the strength to overcome whatever adversity they are facing. I speak not only as it relates to addiction and mental health, but as it relates to overcoming obstacles in life, learning to love yourself, and many of the issues that young people face regardless of whether they are dealing with addiction or specific mental health issues.
The heroin high has been described like being wrapped in the arms of an angel. The truth is, angels are always with us. It is with their help, that I offer you my experience and my support as we work together to overcome the deadly disease of addiction.