The Power of We

See hope at work in the lives of alumni

Janina and her dog in the snowJANINA H.

Age and hometown?

I am 52 years old. I was born in Korea and was adopted by a Minnesota family at age 10. Today, I live in Wayzata, Minnesota, after working and living in the Washington, DC, area for 13 years.

Sober since?

February 14, 2015

Advice for someone still struggling with addiction?

There is nothing wrong with you as a person. Addiction isn't who you are. Addiction is a disease, and there is an answer. There is hope. There is a better life for you, but you've got to reach out and get help.

What does "Together, we will overcome addiction" mean to you?

The recovery community is about pulling each other up, supporting one another, and helping each other live authentically and honestly. We can't do this alone. We need each other. In our addiction, we are so hard on ourselves. We tell ourselves we are stupid or weak or crazy. We are so consumed by our pain and self-doubt that we can't see things clearly. That's a very isolating mind-set. The biggest thing I've learned in recovery is the importance of reaching out, asking for help and offering help in return. That's how I live now, and it feels so good! I'm grateful for every new day.


 

Dan smiles at the cameraDAN G.

Age and hometown?

I am 42 years old. I grew up in Wilmington, California, and I live in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.

Sober since?

September 12, 2007

Advice for someone still struggling with addiction?

The first thing is to be open-minded. Always thinking my way was the right way kept me from realizing another way might work. Learning to take direction is also important with sobriety. Go to meetings and listen to people in those meetings who share their experience. And one more thing: Help others and allow others to help you. Asking for help can be really hard. But in sobriety, I've learned that it's just as important to ask for and receive help as it is to give it.

What does "Together, we will overcome addiction" mean to you?

It means that I can't do this alone. And that I'm not alone. When I help someone else who is struggling—and when someone helps me through my troubles—it takes me away from the stress and anxiety of trying to solve things on my own. It's what helps me stay sober. Working together, with my sponsor and with others in recovery, is how I overcome my addiction.


Sandy smiles from a bench in the sunshineSANDY K.

Age and hometown?

I am 54 years old. I grew up on a dairy farm near Willmar, Minnesota, and I currently live in Victoria, Minnesota, with my husband and dog.

Connection to Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation?

I attended the Family Program at Hazelden in Plymouth, Minnesota, when my daughter was there for treatment. I attend the monthly Caring Families support group and other Hazelden events.

Advice for families struggling with addiction?

If you think your child is involved with drugs, educate yourself quickly and get support for yourself immediately. There's so much you need to know about living with a loved one who has the disease of addiction. When I first called Hazelden to get help for my daughter, I was surprised the counselors said I needed to get myself to a support group. They were so right. I was completely naive about addiction when we learned our daughter was a heroin addict. I have now learned so much and understand I can no better control my daughter's or anyone's actions than I can make my car turn into a spaceship and fly it to Mars.

What does "Together, we will overcome addiction" mean to you?

In order to overcome addiction, we all need to work together—family members, treatment providers, the criminal justice system, medical experts. There are so many avenues involved in understanding and addressing this disease in order to get ahead of it. I am grateful my family is unified in our efforts toward recovery.

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