As many of you know, I wrote a blog series called, “Epidemic” a couple of years ago. During this time, I received hundreds of messages from people who told me that they were inspired by the story, convicted by the story, or had been able to understand and forgive addicts in their lives because of the story. A few readers went on to rehab, while others informed me that while they were still using, my story provided them with hope. There is a way out and that I was living proof of it.
For those of you who have followed my writing, you know my cousin shut down my original blog out of hatred and spite. At that time, I decided not to republish Epidemic on my new site because I planned on editing and publishing it for profit. Many of my readers encouraged this.
However, I sat on my work and continued writing my story with my Narconon series. I lost momentum and creativity, the longer I continued that series. I watched helplessly, as several of the students I attended the Narconon program with went home, overdosed and died. Many are still kicking, but have relapsed. Still, others have found new vices to fill their addictive tendency; myself included. I turned to food and Facebook and allowed both of those vices to become addictions filling a void I had within me. I knew the void was my separation from God. I believed in Christ, but I was not living Christ-like by any means. I’m still struggling to get back with God.
I can’t finish the Narconon series right now. I don’t feel like that writing is glorifying God in my story. I certainly do not want to lend my name to promote Narconon or the cult of Scientology that it operates on. Narconon did not save my life. The love I have for my daughter, through Christ, allowed me to make the CHOICE to stay clean. After coming home from Narconon, my biggest help with recovery didn’t come from meetings or anything I learned from Narconon, but rather through writing Epidemic. Reliving and processing that time in my life, while being sober, helped me to find perspective and strength within myself.
The following I gained through /r/opiates on Reddit, and the constant messages and interaction with my readers through that subreddit made a huge impact on my ability to stay clean. They pushed me to keep writing the series and through that, I couldn’t let my readers down. I had to stay clean. I had to lead by example. I had to be that hope for the active junkie with the needle in their arm. They needed me just as much as I needed them. A special thank you to all of them who have messaged me and shared their own experiences, pushed me to keep writing, followed the series and encouraged me to continue to grow. I am forever grateful. As I stayed a somewhat active member of that subreddit, I found myself reading so many other posts that made me cringe. I wanted to wrap my arms around each and every one of them and pull them away from that demon. So many wonderful people struggling to find that out about themselves. I watched people look out for each other in /r/opiates with safety tips and without judgment. I also watched other writers come forward with their own stories and flourish within the subreddit. It felt like family. A complete group of strangers on the internet that I could identify with on levels that a nonuser could never understand. This group was a big part of my motivation to stay clean and healthy for me, my daughter and for them. So many of them encouraged me through private messages. Another special thank you for that, /r/opiates.
The Lord works in the most mysterious of ways. For those of you that read the story, you know little about my daughter’s father, but what you did know wasn’t good. Recently I have found God working through me by reconnecting me with him and his family. He is in prison right now, but has obtained his GED, a ministry degree and is active in church activity there. This is the first time I have communicated with him when he has been sober, ever. He sounds good and motivated to maintain his sobriety when he gets out. His brother, Kevin Carmichael, helped reconnect a desire to move towards Christ again, through his complete fire for the Lord. He is also in recovery and has a passion to share his story and glorify the Lord in doing so. I told him about, “Epidemic” and he suggested if it was helping others, anyone, that maybe I should just consider throwing it back up online. I had already spoken with an editor and dismissed him, though not entirely.
Last night I felt God pulling at my heart to spend some time with him. I grabbed a notepad and pen and began writing a list of what I wanted to write about in my next book. I felt God lead me to republish, “Epidemic” online during this process, reminding me of Kevin’s suggestion to do so recently. If only even, just one person read this story and decided to never pick up that needle, then I would trade all the money I would make off the story to help just that one person. That is the honest to God truth, and so that is what I am doing. I had several people message me about only being part way through the story when my cousin shut down the blog and I felt horrible not having it up for them to finish, but I was told for publication that I couldn’t have it free on the internet. I simply don’t care anymore. I hope and pray that this story helps many. Helps them to seek treatment for their own addiction. Prevents them from ever picking up that needle. Helps them to forgive themselves or addicts in their lives. Helps them to understand that the drug is a demon and they are stuck in a battle for their life, for their soul. Helps them to see hope in Christ and know that there is a way out of their hell. Helps them to not feel alone, as they plug their veins, even while reading the story. I had someone message me that he was doing just that. “At least he didn’t feel so alone,” he wrote. I hope this story finds them, even if it’s just that one.
A warning to those in recovery. This story is an extremely raw and uncut depiction of the life involved with heroin use. The descriptions of using might trigger someone new to their recovery. I have opted to publish it without all of the images of heroin and meth that I had published it with before. There will not be any images published within the text. I will utilize only one featured image to share the link. My hope by doing this is that others might be able to read the story without being triggered or uncomfortable. I appreciate feedback and welcome messages from anyone reading the story that might have questions or need prayers and an understanding ear. If you have a story to tell, message me about being a guest contributor to the blog. This would be a free publication. I would love to see this site become a community of active users seeking help and recovering addicts lending theirs.
I will try to maintain a schedule of postings on Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon PST, with the occasional Friday bonus at noon. There is a PayPal donation button on the home screen of my website www.crazygirlblogger.com, for those who might want to donate to the story. But please, feel no obligation to do so. Readers in /r/opiates suggested I add that feature to my site and so I have given readers that option, but will always view any donations as a blessing and not an entitlement or mandate to reading Epidemic or any other postings.
A few old friends from Trinity: Timothy Olson, Justin, and Melissa Foltz, Leslie Webster Urie and Brooke Carroll, all reached out after I came home. A special thank you to them and to Stacie Wood and Jeffrey Mallinson, for continued prayers, encouragement and support. Special thank you to Nancy Sparks and Cindy Stevenson for feedback and encouragement, as they followed my story. I want to thank Vance and Dana Richardson, for their continued support with my sobriety and my daughter. Another special thank you to my father, Charles Brown, for reading the series. I know it must have been extremely difficult for him to swallow. Thank you to Amy Brown and Erin Jurkovich for reading and encouraging me to share and continue to grow. I would like to acknowledge the support of all my family and friends along this journey and hope that you enjoy the reading!
Click the link to begin reading—Epidemic Chapter 1