Jeanne is a mental health advocate, certified addiction counselor and recovery specialist. Jeanne shares her story with Annie which includes growing up in a family that seemed to be constantly dealing with one crisis after another, much of which was caused by addiction. Jeanne describes how she took her own experiences with various recovery methods and developed The Recovery Concierge, a program designed to help customize recovery plans for those looking for something different than the conventional programs.
The Recovery Concierge
A Long Line of Addicts
I come from three generations of intergenerational trauma and addiction and mental issues. And so for a long time, adversity hit me at a very young age. There was a lot of chaos in our family system. I had a baby sister who died, an emotionally absent mother, a father who was working, and an older brother. My older brother fell prey to heroin addiction by the time I was 12, and he was six years older than me. He was well into heroin, IV heroin use.
I didn’t know what normal was, because that was my normal. I came from a family of addiction. So as a teenager, due to my formative years, I found drugs. What I was looking for was a way to feel better, and I didn’t recognize there was any other healthier ways to feel better, because nothing else was introduced to me.
By the time I was 18, I recognized that I had a problem. I didn’t use like everybody else. Alcohol never became part of my story until much later in life, into my 40s, because it was so much more socially acceptable to have a drink rather than roll a joint or something like that at the table. By the time I was 40, I found alcohol. Let me just back up once. I went to treatment in 1993, and that was my first introduction that maybe there was something abnormal about how I was using substances to just check out and not lean into what I needed to feel and process, because I didn’t have those tools back then. So I would just do that bypass of, okay, I need to feel better, so what makes me feel better?
Leaving A Family of Addiction
That’s why I turned to drugs. So by ’93, I married. I have a very young family, and my husband said, “You need to get it together.” I said okay. My children were non-negotiable, and I needed to clean that up. I felt that they deserved better, and I came from a chaotic system, so I knew the value of better parenting. It’s not that my parents weren’t good parents. They did the best they could. But it was very dysfunctional, very chaotic. I didn’t want the to continue in a family of addiction.
There was always a crisis. There was an ambulance at our door, my mom was strung out on Valium. There was police coming to our door, my brother was putting his hands through windows to get pain medication. As a little girl, because I was six years younger than my brother, just watched from the sidelines of all of this, and I was just this good quiet little girl who sort of got lost in the chaos of this family system.
We’re basically products of our environment. So social aspect has a really big part of whether we fall vulnerable, I think, to substance use disorder. It’s not the only part, as you know, because you studied quite well the science behind it, and everybody is vulnerable, and I get that. And I think some are more so than others.
For me the family of addiction needed to stop so in 1993 I entered rehab. After six years clean from hash, I decided that I’m going to be a social drinker. I’m now in my 40s and I have young family, everybody drinks. Within two years, it really hit me hard. What had happened was I was abstinent but I hadn’t really recovered. I hadn’t really done the work that was necessary to process what was going on for me emotionally. Therefore, it didn’t take me long before alcohol replaced my other drugs.
Tune into the complete podcast to hear how Jeanne left a family of addiction and did the internal work that allowed her to heal completely.
Special music thank you to the Kevin MacLeod Funkorama (incompetech.com)
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