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Beauty in the Pain

Beauty in the Pain. . . such an oxymoron.  Seriously.

But, it is true.  I have written about my pain from losing Michael.  But, I’ve also written about how I’ve found some “happy” in that pain.  I’ve written about how I have learned to trust in God – when all else fails, I know He has my back (Proverbs 3:5-6).  I have learned to move forward with optimism and a sort of appreciation for the wisdom that was left behind.  Grief is an amazingly complex hand.

Back in September, I announced my acceptance into Hazelden Betty Ford’s Graduate School of Addiction Studies.  The choice to enter grad school as a single, working mom, already stretched thin, was not taken lightly.  I still think I might be a tad bit nuts and have to give myself a pep talk every so often.  I am very thankful for a supportive family, friends, and a boyfriend that embraces all my crazy ideas.  Very thankful!

So, you might be thinking: Why grad school?  What is the plan?

I have been touched by addiction from several angles.  My brother died when he was high and intoxicated.  I have had several other experiences with addiction, and I will share more when the time comes. With each experience and each heart tug, I have developed a strong vision for a non-profit.  I have learned several things over the years (not every one of these is true in every situation – this is a generalization):

  • Each situation is unique

  • People are scared and often ashamed of their addiction, causing barriers to seeking treatment.  STIGMA is prevalent.

  • People in recovery are “stuck” returning to their old lives before treatment.  Their home, finances, relationships, etc are somewhat similar to what they were upon entering treatment.

  • Some underlying pressures, stresses, etc. are not remedied at the time of treatment.

  • These underlying pressures, stresses, etc. wreak havoc on the person in recovery if they are unresolved and they may return to using.

As mentioned above, not every person reacts the same way.  In my experience, I have noticed that these are the common threads.  I believe we are missing a piece here that is crucial to long-term sobriety and recovery.  That piece is follow-through.  My non-profit will focus on resolving the underlying causes/factors/stressors/whatever-you-want-to-call-its of a person’s addiction.

I completely understand how individual and unique each person’s situation is.  With that, one person may need help establishing a new base of friends (maybe the old friends were users).  Maybe finances are a concern and they need some financial counseling.  Perhaps a new career is in order – assisting with college acceptance and financial aid is the route.

 Oftentimes, individuals that are in active addiction do things they wouldn’t do otherwise – stealing and other criminal activity can cause long-term harm.  This non-profit would help people in recovery overcome these hurdles.  Housing – family – health and wellness – the list is endless.  Think of this as life coaching for individuals in recovery.

I certainly don’t have all the answers.  Or even all the questions for that matter.  Hence, grad school.  I couldn’t be more honored to be attending Hazelden Betty Ford.  I will be learning from the best of the best.  I am excited and eager to learn more about what I can do to help and adjust my plan along the way.  It will be a journey of about 3-4 years, so in the meantime I plan to keep this blog active and sharing my knowledge and journey with you.

One of the ways I want to share and educate, is with stories of addiction and recovery.  If you or someone you know is in recovery and are willing to share your story, please let me know.  I would be honored to help you educate others on addiction so that we can reduce stigma.

 Likewise, if you are someone who has been affected by addiction (maybe a spouse, sibling, parent, friend, etc) and you would like to share your story of how that addiction has affected you, please let me know.  I would love to share your story right here on Michael’s Love.

Thank you for all of your support!


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