Forum Recap

Happy Friday! I know I said I would post my almond trifecta today, but I just wanted to talk about how my speech went last night.  The almonds will have to wait until next week and that way I can also do some more tweaking over the weekend.  It will be glorious.

As most of you know, I was given the opportunity to share my story with a group of citizens and their children last night.  I left work early and Neil and I made the 2 hr trip back home.  I haven’t been back home very often since 2011 because honestly it is hard for me.  It is pretty rural and my last associations with home are all of using.  I’m sure if I frequented it more often I could make new, more positive associations, but for now I haven’t made it a priority.  I’m glad that I can still see most of my family on a pretty regular basis.

During situations like this, my body and my brain do not align.  I was excited to share my story since the last time I spoke at this forum I had to be escorted to and from jail in order to do so.  I was excited to show people that there is another side of addiction and that people can make it through.  So I wasn’t nervous, but my body likes to rebel in these kind of situations and make me feel like I am going to throw up or explode.  I felt a little like that all day and was just waiting for it to be over because I know that then those feelings immediately go away.

It turned out that I was the featured speaker, which I didn’t realize, so I was to speak for about 15 minutes and then there would be breakoff groups for workshops.  My mom was able to come and so in this large group of people I recounted my story up until today.  I was humbled by a standing ovation and I can’t tell you how many people came to talk to me afterwards.

I enjoy doing things like this because I want to be able to help people who do not suffer from addiction understand it.  I can never completely explain it, but I can try and offer a different perspective.  Overall, it was a good event, but I couldn’t help but notice that most of the ideas and mandates for improving the problem of drug use were developed by people who do not have first hand experience with addiction.  I’m not saying that those people aren’t helpful, but what I felt was lacking was input from people who have actually gone through these things.  Input from addicts.

This could be for a number of reasons, some of which include the small percentage of addicts who actually find recovery and stay clean or because of the anonymity that these addicts desire to maintain.  I’m not saying that anonymity isn’t important, because it is.  The catch-22 is that if no one talks about it, nothing will change.  While I maintain my anonymity in work and most of my personal life, I use this blog as a venue to work out internal struggles I may be having and as a way to show others how to live a healthier life despite any struggles that can (and will) come your way.  Ultimately, though, the event was good and I was definitely glad to be a part of it.

After the event was over, I spoke to a few more people, then Neil and I made the trip back to Virginia.  I was exhausted since I had gotten up early to get a workout in before work that day.  Thursday is normally my gym day after work, so I switched it around yesterday so I wouldn’t miss it.  So far the reception from last night has been good and I may end up involved in some more speaking events in the future.  Basically I’m famous.  Jk (OR AM I?).

Since I don’t like posts without pictures, here are some flowers we got at work.  Hello Spring? Can you stay for awhile?  Have a great weekend!

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Question of the day: Have you ever spoken about something? Do you find it easy or difficult?

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5 Comments

  1. April 4, 2014 / 3:25 pm

    Wow, you never cease to inspire me! I’ve never had to share my inner-most story in front of a group of people before, so I dont know quite what that’s like. But I did (unfortunately) live through a very traumatic event where I felt like for months afterwards I was walking around completely naked and exposed – because everyone knew what had happened, and was just watching to see what I’d do. Being totally open like that is such a humbling experience, but can definitely make you grow as a person!

    • April 4, 2014 / 3:39 pm

      Definitely! I see it as a way to take what was a pretty awful time and turn it around to help others. It’s really about perspective and seeing how I can take something negative and make it a positive.

      Props to you for getting through whatever happened. I’m sure it has made you a stronger person and you can always take solace in that 🙂

  2. April 5, 2014 / 10:37 pm

    You are so inspiring! All I can say is you are awesome! I give you such huge props for getting up there and sharing your story and helping others. I’m sure you are right, hearing it from someone who has gone through it is probably so much more helpful. I’m glad you can get out there and help others, that must be a great feeling!

  3. April 5, 2014 / 11:50 pm

    That is amazing – and how fortunate that you’ve been able to keep in contact with your family and recover so well, obviously not an easy task. It is definitely true that most of the tactics developed for people to overcome addiction are created based on those who’ve never experienced that kind of dependency. Happy to hear your speech went extremely well! Enjoy the rest of your weekend Erin! -Iva

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