I grew up on a hippie commune surrounded by substance abuse. I experienced childhood neglect and trauma, leaving me with a variety of survivor behaviors, including intense anxiety and hyper-vigilance. I left home at 16 and managed to go to college. But drug addiction took hold in my twenties, leading to a vicious cycle of suicide attempts, hospitalizations, treatment and relapse.
A pivotal decision followed by intensive treatment, 12-Step programs and therapy put me on path to recovery. Today, I have a great job, a husband, a home and a loving community of friends. Life is “full and has meaning.” And despite plenty of chaos and stress, I have “the tools to live happily and work through the challenges as they come.”