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.
Stephen Noble Smith is running for governor of West Virginia. And he is the real deal. Read, share, and support people who so generously and passionately support others.
Thank you, Stephen, for sharing with More Than Addiction. Read his full interview below.
- What is your passion? What brings you fulfillment?
What brings me the most joy is watching someone do something courageous they never thought they could do, watching someone realize their power for the first time. I get to work with a lot of working class people - teachers, social workers, construction workers - who are running for office for the first time. They're all trying to do what's right and serve their communities. I love the moment when one of them makes their decision to run, or gives their first public speech.
"My passion started out as working at ground level, meeting people where they are in their mess, and loving them into a greater direction. Although that certainly still is a passion of mine, recently I have been trying to focus time on helping those already in recovery to develop a quality of life on a larger scale that suggests it would be utterly ridiculous to ever touch another drink or a drug again.
The real me is just another person in recovery, trying to find my way. I still have struggles daily, with mental health. My insecurities can, at times, feel like they’re eating me alive. I have to constantly surround myself with accountability and be willing to reach out for help and take it. I just want others to know it’s okay to not be okay. We all need a little help at times. We just have to be willing to admit that and reach out.
My addiction does not define me, but it does give me a very great reason to constantly work on myself to get better.
My passion is to lead other addicts to a life of recovery. My fulfillment is to lead by example for other addicts who want to change their lives for the better.
The real me is a loving mother of three, a grandmother, wife, and a Christian woman who was saved by God's grace and now lives to serve Him.
I want others to understand that recovery is hard work but so worth it. My blessings have been many since getting clean and sober three years ago. Everything I lost in active addiction has been restored.
I am more then addiction.
I am someone's mother, daughter, wife, and friend. Every life matters and every addict can change and recover.
"My passion is to shine a light to those that are surrounded by darkness.
Something very magical happens when someone is in the depths of dispair and then all of the sudden you see a twinkle of hope light in their eyes. That’s what this is about, seeing people come back to life and transform into the most beautiful version of themselves. It’s a phenomenal sight to see and I am blessed to be a part of it.
What do I want others to know about addiction: I can’t make someone understand what I can’t understand myself. What I do know is that there is no definite rhyme or reason to it and it does not discriminate. Turning your head will not “fix” the problem nor will ignoring it. People close their minds to what they don’t understand but real chance comes when we open our hearts and try to understand.
When I look back at my life, I see a lot of heartache, pain, destruction, broken pieces and horrible truths. When I look in the mirror I see strength, beauty, determination, and a grace that saved my life. ..
On Friday, June 14, at the beautiful Valley Park in Hurricane, WV, More Than Addiction held its first ever event—our free Community Picnic and Launch Party. Putnam County Parks & Recreation was generous enough to donate their beautiful shelter—kitchen and all—to our organization. Putnam County Parks & Rec is a vocal supporter of recovery and the renewal of lives. Their generous support made possible an idea, hope, and dream of bringing members of the community, recovery centers and groups, education resources, people in recovery, family members, and advocates together in one space united by a single cause: proving we are all more than addiction.
Here’s how this event took shape…
“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.