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Addiction- Writing For My Life

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I once held card board signs begging you to buy a lie that almost killed me. NOW I am saving my life by unraveling that lie in order to shed truth, understanding and compassion on what is still killing so many others. Today, I am writing for my life, and Yours.

I am doing this by shedding a raw light on things too many bury in shame- a shame that is keeping people sick and building an epidemic that is finding addicts and their loved ones feeling defeated and lost. Law enforcement, social workers and medical professionals alike are also getting jaded because their one size fits all approach to battling addiction is not saving as many lives as we would like it to. In trying to save everyone we are losing individuals who are starving for help and too many are dying out there while their loved ones are left behind wondering where they went wrong or could they have done something differently.

My approach through writing has brought me face to face with some of these individuals. Women who don’t know how to leave their families in order to detox. Parents whose children have died from heroin overdoses. Men who are still struggling to get clean and be understood. My inbox is full of people who have been moved by what I write because I am showing a side of addiction that many addicts and loved ones of addicts have experienced but don’t know how to communicate.

I don’t sugarcoat, and I tell it like it is no matter how bad or good it makes ME look. I am helping people by sharing my story, and my story covers all sides of addiction for it began as the daughter and sister of addicts and moved on to being a mother and an addict myself. Yet the only way for me to reach people has been to process memories and trauma that have been eating me alive for years- from the inside out.

There are many stressors that come with the processing of abundant amounts of trauma, loss and the remembering of what it was like to live life as though I didn’t need a body, cleanliness, food or any kind of human connection for where I was going almost a year ago, which was a voluntary fall into a six foot ditch, or an involuntary roll into a filthy dumpster. But instead I was given another chance- a chance to live beyond just existing and to help others through relating, education, compassion and awareness.

I’m so grateful for all the support I’ve been given thus far, and for the emotional feedback from friends who couldn’t comprehend what it is like for addicts when we are out there, as well as the mentally ill and the homeless. I also aim to bring understanding for human suffering in general. People are seemingly starving for new and honest perspectives on these topics; because let’s face it, most of us know someone who has been touched by these lifestyles either directly or indirectly. We need to be more prepared, friends. We need to remove the rudeness of these blitz attack awakenings that come in the form of phone calls from jails at best, but from the coroners office at worst.

What I write is definitely raw, honest and difficult, but ignoring what we have endured in our lives has not served many of us well. Most human beings only wish to be understood and accepted, and addicts are one of the most misunderstood demographics out there. Addiction, mental illness and homelessness are individual experiences that are turning into too many AVOIDABLE deaths, until Bam! We now have unnecessary compounding epidemics.

Can we save the world? Definitely not. Not everyone wants to be saved. But can we save one individual at a time by reaching them in our homes, and in our communities? I believe we can, and I started that process when I began writing for my life, and learned that by doing so I could write for others as well- those who have been there but didn’t know how to express it, and those who know or love people who have been there and didn’t know how to understand it.

I would like to take what I am doing to the next level and not only write that book that hundreds are pleading with me to write, but to also take it off the page and create a presentation that will speak to our teenagers because they are the demographic that hasn’t been lost yet, but are at the greatest risk. The chance that our children will encounter addiction and mental illness is far greater than them not encountering it, and they need to be prepared as well.

I’d like to also think that what I offer on FB alone is worthy of a donation. I have written a books worth on social networking, and many have expressed that they have gained a lot from reading what I write. Believe me, knowing that I am helping others is more valuable than anything money could buy but again, I can’t keep giving it away. I need for it to support itself so I can continue writing about topics that people long to learn more about.

I’m asking for your help with this project that is almost becoming too big for me to handle by myself. I’m asking for help from those who believe they have gained from reading what I write or from those who are open to exploring what I have written and believe they could gain from it. I’m not asking for something for nothing. What I do is work. Sometimes when I finish an intense writing process I am famished or exhausted from processing a years worth of homelessness in a half day of writing, but I am okay with that because by helping others I am helping myself and visa versa.

If I could do this for free I would, but I need this to sustain itself so that I can continue helping people who desperately want to understand why their daughter is seemingly choosing heroin over her children, or why their son robbed his grandmother and stole her wallet; or children who can’t understand why their parents abandoned them. You see, I have been all of these people for my parents abandoned me long before they died and before I became a mother myself who couldn’t care for her daughter, and a granddaughter who stole from her poor grandmother. But having almost died out there I have come back with a profound empathy for all sides of the game, and combined with my education I am able to speak to both the personal and professional sides of addiction.

Surviving homelessness, mental illness and addiction has not only given me insights and perspectives that people are starving for, but also a humility that makes it difficult for me to reach out for this kind of help, but also an ability to live with very little and to make very little go a long way.

Again, I am only looking for reciprocity. So if you feel you have nothing to gain from what I do then I ask that you do not donate, but if you believe you have already gained from what I express or feel that you, your children or loved ones could gain from what I do then I am asking for a donation that you can afford, and if you can’t afford it then please, do not donate and by all means please continue to gain what you can from what I write. Thank you friends. ever so deeply, thank you. Peace.



Julie Rocco-Jewels
Springfield, MA

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