"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.

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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.

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"There is a before and after when you have lost a loved one to overdose." - Cece

There is a before and after when you have lost a loved one to overdose. It changes your reality and your heart. 

You love just a little more, because you know that minutes count. I had the influence of a positive mom who believed that all people held redeeming traits. I carry that same passion in my life. It's who I am. So, my passion is hope in humanity. And my love, is family and friends.

When I started down this path, I lost "me". So I have been healing and reconnecting. This healing happened when I made a decision to be silent no more. 

I lost my youngest son, Ryan, April 25, 2014 to an overdose in Macys bathroom. He was 27 years old. He struggled for seven years with addiction. I sent him to college for a degree and he came home with a heroin addiction. 

He was a bright, funny and talented young man with potential. He had four overdoses with the last one costing him his life. He was on a wait list for two programs when he died and received his Medicaid card just three days before. THIS is why I fight for opportunity. 

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