"Don’t hide behind a loved one's addiction..." - Shanna

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.

Read More

MTA needs your help...

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.

Read More

"Helping people has helped me change my life. It's helped me learn to be selfless." - Joe

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.”

Read More