Addiction is woven into the fabric of my family. I am the child of an alcoholic (whom has been in recovery for more than two decades), and have lost two siblings to addiction. Being a child of an alcoholic shaped my awareness of addiction that I have carried with me through all life stages thus far. I have been fortunate in the sense that I have not personally struggled with addiction, partly due to luck, but mostly due to fear.
April 10th 2010 is when I lost my sister, and life was instantly turned upside down. Exactly a year and a half later, I lost my brother on October 10th 2011. The impact of this loss has a ripple effect from that point on… you don’t get over that loss, you just learn to manage it at every holiday, birthday, family gathering, significant life event, and even what should be a simple trip to the grocery store. I truly expected my siblings to be in my life much longer than they were. I’ve learned that life is short, it moves much faster than expected, and changes in a split second.
For many years after my siblings passing, I had a small piece of paper posted on my desk that read, “Shit or fertilizer?” That was a daily reminder that I can choose how I perceive anything that happens in my life, big or small. I ask myself, not always at the time, how I am going to use that experience moving forward… am I going to use it as an excuse to fail or self-destruct, or am I going to use it to grow from. I still struggle with how I can utilize my experiences to impact/help others, but sharing my story is a start.
We are fortunate that Chris Herren will be speaking here in Auburn to share his story of recovery. I hope to see you there, because awareness of addiction is the first step in uniting our community during the current epidemic/crisis in Cayuga County.