Who’s That Junkie?

junkie whos
*Let’s welcome Jenn no longer as a guest here on Recovery Unsensored, but the first Regular Contributor to the site. Thank you, Jenn, for sharing with us all, be blessed!
BY: Jennifer Stottlemire

I started a to write last night; a quote I had heard got my writing wheels turning.
I stopped mid-paragraph not because I had writer’s block or brain freeze from my lemon lime slushy, but because something else happened. Another death, another loss in the war on addiction…gone. Overdosed, another brother. We are broken needing mending, warriors seeking change, brothers, and sisters in a battle against addiction!

My thought process changed quickly. I started to then write about the 100 lb brick that immediately laid on my heart. Heavy. Very heavy.

Who’s that junkie? The one that you read about on social media? The alcoholic who drank himself to death? The heroin addict who had reservations? The one who risked it all for “one more?” The PTA mom who can’t put the pills down? Yeah, them….

My experience in recovery has opened up so many places in my heart. Through real experience, I have lived it. I have felt the distance from strangers, loved ones, acquaintances that do not understand. I have seen and heard it; the hateful remarks and discouraging posts.

But something hit me tonight as I watched the one’s I love break down over the loss. As this man’s face kept popping into my mind, I thought of how addicts who die from this is disease are titled as “another overdose” followed by a statistic.
But, who really was he? What did he really stand for? Would it matter if they know? Would they reach a hand out say a kind word? If they knew, would the pay more attention to the war; the epidemic? Would they judge less and help more? Would the stigma begin to go away? Would they care less about the debate of, disease vs. not disease?

It’s worth a try….

We don’t all live under bridges, come from generations of alcoholics or stand at the edge of the freeway with a sign. But, yes, some of us do. So what if we do?

Kids who made bad choices? Kids who made good choices? Yes and yes.
In trouble in school? Dropouts? Sometimes.
Good at sports? Some, very good.
We were all once kids with backpacks as big as us, climbing on a school bus on the first day school, new pencil box in tow. We chased the ice cream man down the street; pockets full of pennies and played hide n seek, excited to find a good spot to not be found. We were afraid of the dark and had a favorite stuffed animal, doll or blanket. We wanted our mom when sick and firefighters were our hero’s.

We have favorite ice cream flavors, cheer on beloved sports teams and get excited on Christmas morning. We have moms who bake us birthday cakes and dads who still give us pep talks, even as adults.

We have families that hurt along with us. And families that hurt after us.

We laugh at jokes that you do. Watch scary movies and have a favorite pizza topping. We are teachers, dentists, golf instructors, business leaders, artists, and cooks. We lay the black top you drive on and mop the floors you walk on. We love our parents, our sisters, brothers; adore our children. We take our kids to the zoo, read them books and pray at night next them….their tiny folded hands give us that hope we desire.

We take service positions at treatment centers as drivers, cooks, maintenance workers. Lay our heart out working the office to answer those calls. Those calls you would never want to answer. We make coffee in church basements and set up chairs so everyone has a place to sit. Anything to fight this disease! We try so hard to fight this fucking disease!

We are young, old; rich and poor. We are funny, smart, curious and pretty witty. We are just like you in many ways, yet our circumstances are seen so differently because we are imprisoned by a drug or a drink. A cunning, baffling and overly powerful substance. Socially unacceptable.

We are people who sometimes can not beat the damn thing. Pride, ego, dishonesty, fear, distrust, and lack of faith drive us from the solution. We die from the same thing that we once thought “saved” us. We hate what we once loved. We see so many die from the same thing we battle.

So as you hear about another person who died from a drink or drug, go ahead and take a moment to mourn the battle of someone who once upon a time had dreams of growing up to be someone just like you. Then, if you still have the nerve you can ask, “Who’s that junkie!”

About the Author:  Jenn is a family-focused former teacher who just recently made a complete career change by entering the recovery field as a Behavioral Health Technician Supervisor for women. Writing is something that she became passionate about through her own recovery from drugs and alcohol; using it as an outlet and tool to cope with the varied emotions and experiences of addiction and recovery. Jenn, her husband David who is also in recovery and son, Jackson live in Columbus, Ohio where they enjoy watching movies, cooking, cheering on the Buckeyes, having an active spiritual life and just enjoying the simple things that they once took for granted. The recovery world is their new world and they welcome all who desire recovery! To God be the glory….
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