Comments and Conversation: Gretchen’s story

Today, I am sharing comments from the two -part interview with Gretchen Beach. This is the story of a woman who became addicted to drugs in her early 20s. She talked very candidly about her life, about bad relationships, and about how she was able to overcome addiction and to find hope in her life.  Gretchen has been clean and sober since 2002. She has become an advocate for recovery. She said: I share my story to encourage others and to give hope. There
is hope that you can get clean and there is hope that you don’t have to hide
your sick family members. You can ask for help for them.

Comments about part one (link to part one of Gretchen’s story):

from Jack and Jenny KnightTragic. I’ll be waiting to read the second half. Thank you!

from Nancy: Thanks for sharing – I look forward to the rest of the story.

from Shilpa Gupte: That must have been a real battle that she fought. I am so glad she is recovering. Looking forward to reading the rest of her Gretchen’s story.

Thank you for following this story. I feel that it is so important to share the story of drug addiction as a human story. 

from Martha DeMeo: Drugs are running rampant every where and it’s scary when kids think they won’t get addicted. I’m looking forward to part two of Gretchen’s story.

I don’t think that anyone ever anticipates becoming a drug addict. There are a variety of reasons for people to start taking drugs. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, reasons for people choosing to start taking drugs include a desire to feel good or to feel better than they are currently feeling. They may want to do better at something, such as sports. They may be curious about the drug and they may be taking the drug because “everyone is doing it” (peer pressure). 

from Alana: Such a slippery slope. I’m glad to read that she’s in recovery. Looking forward to read more of Gretchen’s story.

It is definitely a slippery slope. The National Institute on Drug Abuse describes the initial use of drugs as voluntary. After the person becomes addicted, continuing to use the drugs is no longer voluntary. They say that drugs change the structure of the brain, and that drug addiction is “a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.”

Comments about part two (link to part two of Gretchen’s story:

from Lillian: 
It seems we are
doing similar work. I’m in the process of, hopefully, getting someone who’s in
recovery to share their story on my blog. I’m glad she stepped up and shared
her story. There’s power and hope in the sharing.

I agree that there is power and hope in sharing life stories. I hope that it will lead to more dialogue about this public health issue, which has been treated as a law enforcement issue for far too long.

from Vicki Mayheu: That’s quite an
inspiring post. I have personal experience with the world of drugs, and was
raised by an alcoholic, so I know how hard it is to get away from all of that.

You raise a great point, Vicki. The families of people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol have their own stories to tell. 

from Alana: Years ago, I
worked with a woman in recovery. She had been abused by her father, then
married had three children before she was out of her teens, and ended up on
drugs and alcohol. She abandoned her children. At the time I knew her she had
beat the alcohol and drugs, was going to college part time and was trying to
reestablish a relationship with her children, who were young adults. Sadly, I
heard (after she left the company I was working for) that she had relapsed. I
think about her a lot and wonder what has happened to her.

That is a sad story. Recovery from drug addiction is described as a lifelong process. Addiction is a powerful disease, and it is very complex. According to the Foundations Recovery Network, “a relapse is a setback in recovery, but it is not a failure.” The person in recovery can re-evaluate and recommit to continued recovery. 

from mahathi ramya A: It’s great that
you are sharing your story and creating awareness on drugs. I have never come
across people addicted to drugs, but I understand, it needs a great
determination to come out of it.

Thank you so much. I really do hope to share more stories. 

Some points for a continued conversation on drugs. Please share your perspective on these two issues: 

  1. The war on drugs is seen as causing more problems than it is solving. The Law Enforcement Action Partnership was founded in 2002 by five police officers as Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. It became the Law Enforcement Action Partnership in January 2017. Its goal is to educate the public about the harm done by drug prohibition. It does not promote the use of drugs. It considers drug addiction to be a public health problem, not a a law enforcement issue. It says that the war on drugs has failed and that it should be brought to an end. Take a look at their website: link to law enforcement action partnership’s depiction of the harm done by the war on drugs and their recommendations for handling the drug epidemic. 
  2. There are charges of racism in the War on Drugs. The racism has been very blatant, especially where crack cocaine is concerned. People who were charged with crack cocaine offenses received dramatically harsher penalties than people who were charged with powdered cocaine offenses. According to the Drug Policy Alliance, African-Americans were regularly penalized far more severely than white Americans. Here is a link to an article about racial disparities in the war on drugs.

5 thoughts on “Comments and Conversation: Gretchen’s story”

  1. Corinne Rodrigues

    I read Part one of this post and somehow missed part 2 of Gretchen's story. Was glad to catch up today. Such an important story to share.

  2. I am convinced that there is a racial component in the drug issue i.e. it is never as much of a problem as when the usage and addiction penetrates the majority white population. However, it is good news that the "war" on drugs has turned to what it is – a public health problem, which should not stigmatize.

  3. Oops – meant to say it is never as much of a problem until the usage and addiction penetrates the majority white population.

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