Tell your story. Spark compassion.
We are #MoreThanAddiction.
Our mission is to tell real stories of real people who have been impacted by drug addiction. Our goal is to shift the damaging and oftentimes demoralizing rhetoric surrounding addiction to a more humane, more complete narrative.
“I was taught work ethic at a very young age.”
Jake tells me he grew up in a loving home with two very successful parents, and he learned from their example that if he did his best and set his mind to any task, he would see results.
I learn through my conversation with Jake about his “all in” sensibility, his full commitment to whatever he takes on, this habit of mind that made him so successful yet also put him on a dangerous path of addiction and struggle.
But addiction and its subsequent struggle wasn’t one Jake couldn’t overcome with his same determined mindset.
Jake was a precocious student, athlete, and musician. He was naturally curious and intelligent. As a teen, Jake was a football player, musician, and an involved member of jazz band and show choir. By all accounts, a textbook high-flyer who was going places. Smart, charming, ambitious, and a world of promise before him.
You see, June 14 is a special day to us.
My brother Bradley would have turned 26 this day. We honor him with our advocacy work in changing the narrative of addiction, sparking compassion in our community, and connecting folks to addiction and recovery resources and support.
If you loved Bradley too, we hope you come celebrate with us how he was so much more than addiction.
If you or someone you love struggles with addiction, we hope you tell your story and that you feel seen and heard.
If you see the need for a more compassionate, better educated community in tackling the complexities of addiction and its many consequences, we hope that you'll join us for an evening of food and friendship.
If you simply need a break, a place to hang out for a few hours, and a good meal, we hope you come connect with us, too.
We have LOTS of help from our friends and community members in speaking and giveaways, including Cece Brown, Holly Finney, Maranatha Church, Belly Scrubs, Lowes of Barboursville, Walmart of Hurricane, Mountain Pie, NOVA Salon & Spa, the Scissor Sisters, and brave friends in recovery.
Also, stay tuned for an exciting announcement about some live, local musicians!
We appreciate ALL of you who have liked, shared, followed, and supported MTA every step of the way. Let's keep the love going!
See you June, 14 at the Valley Park. 💚 #morethanaddiction
"I was addicted to heroin and pain pills for six years.
I was depressed.
I was angry.
I was sad.
I made wrong decisions and put myself in places and situations that made my addiction worse.
In 2014 I met a man at my place of employment who barely knew me and wanted to take me out to dinner to tell me about a dream that he had that he felt was from the Lord. I went out to dinner with him and he told me the dream. The dream was me with a sword in my leg that was hindering my walk and if it were not pulled out I was going to die. A wind blew over me and as it blew the sword was being pulled out.
He described and interpreted the dream that I would be healed completely.
What is my passion? To help others be freed from the bondage of Self.
I work with other people by sharing my experiences, and sometimes I get to watch the lights come on for them. I get to watch hope arise from them when they finally realize that they can have a new life. I sponsor a few guys in recovery and volunteer as much as I can at various treatment programs. To be able to see others transform from being bound up by selfish "what's in it for me" motives and turn into people who genuinely care about the well being of others is absolutely the highlight of my life. That and being a full time Dad to an amazing 8yr old boy!
While I admit that my methods in working with others can, at times, seem abrasive, that's exactly what it took for me.
Due to several forms of abuse I experienced as child, my entire life, I carried myself as if the world was unfair to me and I just didn't fit anywhere. There were also feelings of worthlessness in coming from a broken home.
By the time I made it to Recovery, I literally lost everything. My family's home, my car, custody of my child to the state for a second time and every person in my life that ever really cared for me. I lost it all. But that's what it took.
I always tell the people in recovery that it takes what it takes, and that is different for everyone.
For me, it was losing it all.
I’m a daughter. I’m a daughter who has put her mother through hell and has worked hard to rebuild that relationship. I’m a daughter who calls her mom every night, whether it is just to say hi or for cooking advice (I’m definitely not the best cook). I’m a daughter who never misses a holiday, even when I live 1,500 miles away from my mom.
Sam and Nichole share trust, faith, and a deep commitment to one another. Both are in recovery.
Nichole wants people to understand that addiction is much more than a drink or drug, that it lives in a person’s mind, and even without drugs or alcohol they suffer from a disease of the mind and body. She says, “It is about the actual behaviors that I need to address more than the substance I use to mask this disease.”
And Sam offers that confronting addiction “is larger than any small sum of people who think they have the answers” and that “we must come together and cooperate to make real progress against every facet that continues to contribute to this epidemic.”
And that includes empowering others.
I am a passionate advocate for recovery and education. Education is one of the most powerful tools we can have. The more we learn the more we grow.
I absolutely love watching people find themselves and love themselves again. By this, I mean both those in Recovery AND family and friends.
I consider myself an incredibly empathetic person, so when I see someone hurt...I hurt with them. But when I see them grow and blossom, I am over the moon happy. Seeing a family heal is the best feeling.
I spent many years watching someone I love battle addiction and substance abuse. He had an absolute heart of gold, knew exactly what to say when I needed it, and gave the very best hugs!
I can’t pinpoint when exactly I became addicted to being his rescuer and protector but I did. Once he found long term recovery, I adopted the identity of being his biggest cheerleader. I never took time to attend any meetings, learn anything about step work, or learn what warning signs of relapse were. The life had returned to his eyes and life was good. Until it wasn’t.
Through my grief, as I was conceiving of the idea of More Than Addiction, there was one question I returned to again and again: How do we humanize addiction?
My brother Bradley was intelligent, gregarious, and adventurous, and from the get go, my hope was for people to remember this about him. And it got me thinking about the collective societal pats on the back we give ourselves when we feel good about how the worst of what we see in the addicted — either in the media or in our community — would never be us…it couldn’t be, right?
And this question and thinking, of course, led to several other questions.
First, I wanted to learn what Joe overcame. When I asked Joe about his addiction story and how drugs impacted his life, it began like this…
“By the grace of God, I have three years clean.
Since I was 17 years old, I’ve not been able to put together three years clean. I had tried on my own. I was introduced to morphine at the age of 11 through T-cell leukemia. In a 8 to 10 months, I had 44 spinal taps, threw up 72 days straight days, wore a hole in my esophagus, had reconstructive surgery on my stomach from throwing up so much.
I had surgery for broviac and catheters and stuff for my chest to do chemo. I went through a lot as a kid, you know.
I was overweight and I gained a lot of insecurities. But my dad was a school teacher and a basketball coach, and he gave me the Rocky Balboa speech. I didn’t look right, and I didn’t feel right, and I felt bad about myself. He handed me a basketball and I fell in love.”
1- I get fulfillment by being my best self. Being the best wife, mother, EMT, and human I can be is what brings me happiness. I’ve seen the dark side of people in life throughout my childhood and with my job in EMS, so being able to prove that there is genuine people out there and being one of them is what makes me feel satisfied.
2- The real me is someone who cares about the broken. I’ve seen the good and bad in life. The bad has made me so much more grateful and appreciative of the good. I think so many people go through life without feeling genuine happiness and that’s sad to me. I care about people on such a deep level and I feel everyone deserves to learn how to choose happiness.