I am an addict in recovery

My name is Jon. I am an addict in recovery. I am 24 years old and have just completed the Our House program here in Edmonton, AB. Over the last 10 ½ months I have changed so much. I have found the peace and serenity I have been looking for my whole life. I used to be insane.

I grew up an only child with a lesbian mother. We moved around a lot when I was a kid. I was kind of a loner until I started using drugs. I started drinking when I was 13 and I loved it. I drank until I blacked out. I started smoking pot when I was 14 and I was partying like most teenagers do. I got introduced to cocaine at the age of 16 when I was at the bar. I partied all through high school and graduated as the all-star quarterback with the trophy girlfriend at the age of 17. I had started apprenticing to be a welder out of school and started working all over the map. I got kicked out of bars all over Alberta for fighting. I started realizing I had problems because I couldn’t stop using, gambling [...] continue the story

Change and The Close Sisters

Glenn Close, the founder of http://BringChange2Mind.org, tells the very personal story of how mental illness affected her family. Visit http://BringChange2Mind.org for more information on how you can help combat the stigma around mental health.

October 21, 2009

Change A Mind About Mental Illness

Director Ron Howard lent his vision to this PSA, made possible by over 100 volunteers coming together with one simple goal, to change minds about mental illness.

October 21, 2009

Close & Personal: Dual Diagnosis

She was standing in the middle of Dixie’s living room when Molly and I walked in. She was holding a bottle of wine and made busy to get us some. “No, thank you,” I told her. She pushed. “No, thank you,” I told her again. She didn’t give up. Usually, just saying ‘no thank you’ gets the point across. But not this time. She tried to hand me a wine glass.

This was book club night, an evening with friends that, because I live quite a solitary life, I look forward to all month. I read the book for this month over a year ago and was sure I’d remember everything about it once the discussion began; I couldn’t have been more wrong. I couldn’t remember anything.

However, it isn’t the group I want to focus on, it isn’t the book or the eating or the yakking. It was this one woman, this pushy-with-alcohol woman, and myself. She is a summer person and neighbor of Dixie’s who threw the festivities this time and is someone none of us knew. In short, she isn’t from around here. She used the dreaded ‘C’ word to explain where she was from: California. Her nails were [...] continue the story

Identity, mental illness and recovery

“Once I became my diagnosis, there was no one left to recover.”

Holy cow! This really captures something very important! It articulates what concerns me most about the rush to diagnosis for people in early recovery. It’s much less any intellectual concern, concern that a medication might be unhelpful or some concern about purity of addiction—it’s the black hole that this identity issue can easily become.

Remembering who we are isn’t as easy as it might sound. Once we receive a diagnosis, it often becomes the primary focus of our identity. It can become the lens that we see ourselves through. Our new label can overshadow the depth and breadth of who we are as people. To make matters worse, most of those around us started relating to us as though we’d turned into a diagnosis. They ask us about our medication and if we’re taking it; how we’re taking it; how we feel about taking it; how long we’ve taken it. They ask us what other medications we’ve taken; how long we’ve been ill; how many times we’ve been hospitalized, homeless, in jail, on drugs, and so on. In other words, those around us start seeing only the parts of us [...] continue the story