Family & Friends,
Although nothing will ever come close my victorious finish of the 2015 New York City Marathon, finding my (now) fiance, T.J. on his knee asking for my hand in marriage, I have decided yet again to tackle the world’s most popular marathon, a 26.2 mile trek through the five boroughs on November 6th, 2017. This will be my 4th full marathon and I am so very humbled to have been selected to join The Herren Project running team, fulfilling my passion of thriving physical and mental health, while raising funds and awareness regarding addiction. Like many of us, I have experience first hand as a loved one continues the fight against the ugly battle with addiction one day at a time. I have been inspired by The Herren Project’s mission and founder Chris Herren’s story. Herren, a former Boston Celtics basketball player battled his demons of addiction, hindering his abilities and eventually costing him his career. Now he is a speaker, using his experiences to educate young people on the perils of drug and alcohol abuse in hopes of reaching and making a difference in their lives. With your help, I have set my goal of $4,000, with every dollar raised supporting The Herren Project’s focus areas including effective treatment navigation, educational initiatives and mentoring programs for youth and at-risk populations in hopes of saving a live and making a difference in the lives of those touched by addiction.
Language is power. There are certain words related to addiction and recovery that have become so ingrained into the mainstream vernacular that continue to function without critical reflection. Junkie. Abuser. Addict. User. These are powerful, identity-shaping words that cannot in any way fully encompass a person's true identity. They decrease humanity and allow a stigma to prevail in the eyes of society, demonizing an individual's self-worth. If fighting addiction is in any way a battle against hopelessness, then more of us must become activists on behalf of those who are struggling with a substance abuse disorder. There is an unchallenged assumption that addicts have complete free will in choosing to participate in their addictions, thus addiction is a moral failing rather that a disease. When in reality, it is not a matter of willpower or lack of moral compass but rather an uncontrollable, compulsive behavior.
If we learn to avoid negative and reductionistic statements, become more comfortable with the evolution of our world and its language and terminology, and innovate by utilizing more appropriate terms surrounding the various issues of addiction and recovery, we might be able to set the tone for a completely new kind of world. We must educate people about the realities surrounding the issues of addiction so we can help get past society's unhelpful and prevailing stigmas in order to work towards raising our collective consciousness concerning issues that matter.
With this post, I ask for your support. Your donation is tax-refundable and no donation is too small. I want to thank you in advance for your outpour of love with hope that you too will help break the stigma around mental health. Most importantly, take care of your own mental health and encourage others to do the same.
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