What a sweet surprise today. While opening Facebook I saw the following piece from Today’s City Pages website. For those who don’t know, City Pages is the long-time surviving and leading alternative weekly in the Twin Cities. The young lady in the story is Jenny, who happens to be the daughter of my oldest pal Jerry. I know he’s proud of her, as are the rest of her family and friends. And with very good reason.
To me, Jenny is a wonderful example of the great things that can happen when the stigma of addiction is broken. Addiction is not a moral failing or weakness any more than are cancer or a broken arm. Addiction is an illness that can be cured. It is also one of the most devastating public health crises in the country today, costing us all billions of dollars, and costing us the lives of those we love most. It’s also overwhelmingly common, touching just about everyone in one way or another. Yet in far too many cases it is treated either like the proverbial crazy aunt living in the attic; hidden away, not to be talked about, and something to be feared and ashamed of.,,or as a moral failure, a lack of character, and a sin.
Full disclosure: I’ve been in recovery a few months short of 9 years, and am currently working as an Addiction Peer Recovery Coach at Face It TOGETHER-Sioux Fall Every day I see broken people and families devastated by addiction. I also see these same people and families get well and live remarkable lives. Unfortunately, there are still millions who want to punish addicts instead of helping them, and jail addicts instead of getting them the help than can make them well again Jenny is a great example of what can and does happen when we work hard and have the support of those around us. She’s already changing lives. And she’s just getting started.