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2 min read

Lose the Label: Addict

Addict” is like a bright red, sticky label that obscures the person behind it. It’s as though nothing else about the person matters.

She’s an addict. It’s hopeless.

He made his bed. Now let him lie in it.

But really, underneath someone’s addiction lies difficult thoughts and unwanted emotions and who doesn’t struggle with those?

Amanda Wren was coping with life. Yes, she was addicted to opiate drugs, but looking closer sheds some light – her addiction was not the real issue.

“I wasn’t happy with myself. All my needs weren’t being met. I had food and clothes and shelter, but the spiritual needs weren’t being met, my [need for] love wasn’t being met, so I tried to fill that void with drugs.”Amanda_Wren_2.jpg

Eventually, Amanda’s son Max was taken away and she found herself in jail due to her addiction.

In jail, she began asking herself hard questions and realized she wanted a better life for her and Max.

“I’m thinking, what would that cost Max if I were to continue [what I’m doing]? And how long would I be able to do well if he wasn’t doing well? Would I even be able to do well if he wasn’t doing well? …I just had all this time to really reflect on what I was going to do.

“I was kind of in a place of all I need to do is stop using drugs and I’m going to be fine. [But] drugs were just a symptom. When you’re using drugs it shows something.”

Amanda decided to deal with what was underneath her “symptoms” – fear, anger, isolation. She entered LIFE Recovery at the Center for Women and Children and discovered her triggers, as well as how to deal with her emotions in a healthy way.  

“I used to run off of any emotion I was feeling. I’d get angry. I’d get sad. I’d get livid…I thought it was totally normal. You’re feeling it, why not act it. Now, I know I can’t do that. Now, I know what to do so I don’t reach those points of rage.”

Instead of using drugs or acting out of her anger, Amanda has learned how to get to the root of her anger.

“What UGM taught me to do is take what was triggering me and think, Ouch, that hurt. Why did that hurt?Amanda_Wren-1.jpg

Amanda has not only gained the tools she needs to deal with anger, she’s testing her limits, trusting God and others instead of living in fear. She’s stepping out in faith in big ways.

In fact, she recently went skydiving.

“I was a very fearful person…and I came from this place of fear thinking, I can’t do anything to I can jump out of a plane and do it with a smile on my face.”

Aside from her addiction, Amanda had been struggling with emotions we all wrestle with – fear, anger, sadness. Now, she’s courageously facing them instead of escaping with drugs and it has given her true, abundant life.

“UGM has given me hope. It’s given me love. It’s given me a life back, and I would’ve had a life before, but it wouldn’t have been as fulfilling as this.” 

 

Learn more about the underlying causes of addiction from UGM LIFE Recovery Counselor John Dunne.

screenshot of John Dunne with white board graphics

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