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A Reflection by StepUP Student Owen Harrison

One of the hardest things about being in recovery is when friends go back out or even die. Being in recovery for four years now has provided me the honor and privilege of getting to meet some amazing people. Every drug addict and alcoholic I have met has been incredibly smart, talented and passionate. Some are passionate about social justice issues, others in bodybuilding or basketball, but everyone has something. Every drug addict and alcoholic I have met who even briefly found recovery had dreams. I want to humanize what a drug addict or alcoholic looks like. We are people, we have families, and we have dreams.  All too often our lives are cut short. In 2018 I have already had two friends pass and it’s not even the end of January.

 

As a busy college student who is invested in a little bit of everything from classes and research, to friends and family, to preparing for the future and trying to remain socially engaged, it is easy to get caught up in the little things. It’s easy to get pulled into the drama and the fear around me.

 

The longer I spend in recovery and the more time I spend out in the “real world,” it’s not difficult to find examples of how destructive fear can be. Fear is divisive, it makes the spaces between us larger and more difficult to close. A personal example of this is when I wasn’t doing well in a class last semester I started telling myself that the professor doesn’t like me, or that they had it out to get me. When in reality, I was afraid that I couldn’t learn the material or that I wasn’t smart enough to succeed. Fear stopped me from asking for help and ultimately prevented me from receiving the grade I wanted. Luckily, with this being a two semester course I was presented the opportunity to try again and to break down the wall that fear had created for me and ask for help. I am pleased to report that I am doing significantly better in this class this semester.

 

Last night while sitting in my living room I was discussing the newest offshoot of drama with my roommate. By the end of our conversation we found out that a former StepUP student had passed. This served as a not so gentle reminder that I am lucky to be here, to be alive, and to be in StepUP. There are plenty of people who wish they had the opportunity of another chance at life. Around here we are in the business of saving lives. The drama and the fear doesn’t promote a recovery community, it will only continue to separate us. Without each other we have nothing. May we continue to grow and recover. May those of you out there struggling be reminded that help will always be here when you are ready for it. And to those we lost too soon, may you rest easy now that your demons are gone.