‘I Am Not Anonymous’ website: Kate’s Story

Kate(pp_w1000_h431)Please check out this wonderful website, I Am Not Anonymous. And check out the wonderful photographer who has put this together. 

‘I’m Kate Meyer… a NY based Portrait and Wedding Photographer and lover of all things humanity-related.

It is hard to even know where to begin.  I will start by saying that I am by no means, an expert on addiction.  Have I been greatly affected by it?  YES.  I am my own expert in that field.

Long story short, I am in a relationship with a man in recovery from drug addiction.  What that means is that he hasn’t picked up a drink or drug in a significant amount of time and as a result,  his life gets better every single day.

I have seen him in his worst of times and it was absolutely gut-wrenching.  I never knew just how bad his problem was.  He  seemed genuinely happy, kept a great job and was a productive member of society.  Slowly but surely, as our relationship progressed, I saw he had a problem that he could no longer hide. 

When he opened up about how bad it actually was, it was an awful reality that I never wanted for myself and wouldn’t wish on anyone else.  I was ashamed.  I was embarrassed.  I was scared out of my mind.  I was heartbroken.  I was angry.  I was a full-monty of emotion and felt completely alone and isolated. 

Most importantly, I was completely unaware that addiction is a disease.  I didn’t now that I had zero control over the situation.  I did not realize how unmanageable this had made my life become. 

I didn’t know that none of this was being done TO me and that Tom, my loving boyfriend was full of inner anguish, desperately trying to get a grip on his addiction and finally, once and for all, put a stop to it.

Tom had surrendered.  His addiction had finally brought him to his knees.  He found the blessing of desperation and got himself into a 35 day rehab program down in Florida. 

His time away from the drugs and his willingness to change brought him back home a completely changed man.  He is extremely active in his recovery and it has been nothing short of a miracle to witness the changes and personal growth that I see in him.  One day at a time.

Through all of this, we, as a couple and as individuals have been the target of so many strong opinions on addiction.   My relationships with relatives and friends have changed. 

No one knew he suffered from addiction as they got to know him.  He never stole from anyone.  He was never violent and angry.  He suffered in silence and led a double life that left him completely hopeless and secluded.  Everyone loved Tom. 

Until they found out that he was an addicted to drugs.  Trust was out the window.  Judgement was thrown in our faces.

The problem?  STIGMA.  There is an immensely negative stigma attached to addiction.  It is incredibly alarming.  Why don’t people understand that no addict started their journey with a line of cocaine or a needle full of heroin? 

They started it just like you and me.  With a red solo cup and an innocent drink amongst friends.  No one knows they are going to become an addict when they start experimenting with substances. 

The negative stigma and unavoidable shame is a primary factor in people not wanting to admit their problem and ask for help.  Substance use is common in life.  Alcohol and other drugs are often social lubricants that bring people together. 

Some people are blessed with the ability to put it down and some people simply, are not.  For those people, one is too many and a thousand is never enough.

Most of the time, conversations regarding addiction are heavily focused on the problem.  In my opinion, it is time to start talking about the SOLUTION as well as the problem. 

There ARE positive outcomes to addiction.  There is RECOVERY out there and it is REAL.  People in recovery have the power to tell their stories and tip the scale.  The general public needs to know that recovery is POSSIBLE.  IT WORKS. 

People in recovery are some of the most incredible, inspiring, powerful and spiritual people I have ever met.  People in recovery have the power to change the way that world views addiction.

So here I am.  I am here in hopes that our story inspires others.  I want to use my talents for something greater than myself.  I want to give people in recovery a platform to share their experience, strength and most importantly, HOPE.’