‘Surf Therapy’ Used To Treat Addiction

We are all certainly blessed to live close to the beautiful SoCal Pacific Ocean. But what if the water was more than just a gorgeous tourist attraction? What if it could actually help heal people battling an addiction? That concept is starting to gain traction as counselors and treatment experts have begun incorporating Surf Therapy into their recovery regimens.


The site Surfer Today wrote up a piece on this unique treatment. In their article, they described the many benefits that accompany a day in the waves. They also profiled some success stories; sharing some actual testimonials from people who have used their boards to help beat addiction.


For the record, surf therapy has already been incorporated into treatment plans for people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and even traumatic brain injuries. Several war veterans have found it to be a soothing exercise as well, bringing clarity and serenity to darker feelings they may have experienced.


Part of the reason surfing works so well with addiction treatment is because it uses both mental and physical traits. Mastering the currents requires balance and strength, creating a physical discipline for the body. There is also a large emotional component that revolves around focus, determination and synchronicity with the water. Not surprisingly, all of those qualities can be utilized in the recovery journey (particularly the “reward” element that goes along with catching a spectacular wave).


Other benefits that have been listed alongside surf therapy include confidence building, mindfulness and natural elations (as opposed to those that come from substance abuse). It has even been touted as a relief from insomnia (something many people in treatment suffer from), as a day in the water can tire anybody out.


One former addict turned surf instructor is Darryl Virostko, who was featured in the article. He finds the practice to be incredibly therapeutic and has turned to helping others with his unique recovery classes.


“I recovered from alcohol and drug addiction and chose the ocean to help me get through the process,” he explained. “I fell into the trap of substance abuse, but now have gained control over my life and am completely sober. The high I used to get from taking drugs has now been completely replaced with the rush of these strenuous physical activities.”


Indeed, at Valley Recovery Center we embrace all of these innovative treatment practices. Not only do we support surf therapy, we also have regiments that incorporate horses, archery and wolf sanctuary work. Click here to learn more.


10 Signs A ‘Casual Drinker’ Has Gone Too Far

Could there be an exact formula that defines an alcoholic? Perhaps a blend of symptoms that definitively state whether someone who “casually drinks” has taken their habit too far? Well Popular Science has decided to weigh in on that equation, building a 10 point checklist that can supposedly determine if someone is addicted to alcohol.


In a recent article on their site, the esteemed tech mag broke down just how prominent this issue is in America. Utilizing facts and figures, they were able to determine that people are drinking more than ever before. In the last 10 years, for example, U.S. alcoholism has seen an increase of 30 percent. In total, 11.2 percent of the entire country is now classified as alcoholics. A scary stat that deserves attention.


So that’s exactly what Popular Science decided to do; shining a light on this growing problem and giving people an identifiable list which can offer a self diagnosis. Marc Schuckit, a professor specializing in drug and alcohol abuse at UC San Diego helped contribute to the signal points and believes they are an essential first step in coming to terms with this issue.


“Just like people with risk for diabetes should know they may face trouble, people with potential alcohol problems should realize their problems,” he told the site. “It’s just that people don’t always do self evaluation like they should.”


So how is the list broken out? Take a look below and see if these points align with your drinking habits…


1) Have there been occasions when you ended up drinking more, or longer, than you intended?

2) More than once have you wanted to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but couldn’t?

3) Have you spent a lot of time drinking, or being sick or getting over other aftereffects?

4) Have you wanted a drink so badly you couldn’t think of anything else?

5) Have you found that drinking—or being sick from drinking—often interfered with taking care of your home or family, or caused job troubles, or school problems?

6) Have you continued to drink even though it was causing trouble with your family or friends?

7)  Have you given up or cut back on activities that were important or interesting to you, or gave you pleasure, in order to drink?

8) More than once, have you  gotten into situations while or after drinking that increased your chances of getting hurt? 

9) Have you continued to drink even though it was making you feel depressed or anxious?

10) Have you found that when the effects of alcohol were wearing off, you had withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, restlessness, nausea, sweating, a racing heart, or a seizure?


We recommend thinking long and hard about these questions. Even if one or two apply, it may be time to check in with a recovery specialist or, at the very least, a friend or family member.


Valley Recovery Center is always available to help if you sense a problem emerging and we can assure you that you will get the help you need. If you’re having doubts after reading this list, please reach out. (866) 986-2486



The Importance Of Bereavement Groups

It’s a known fact that an addiction doesn’t just touch one person. It touches that person’s family, their coworkers, their friends, even their entire community. So we make it a point to ensure that whoever is going into recovery also gets support for those who are close to them. But what if it is tragically too late for treatment? What if that person ultimately succumbed to their addiction? That is the time when a bereavement group has proven to be extremely helpful.


Across the country, more and more families are turning to bereavement group after the loss of an addicted loved ones. Similar to treatment, it offers a safe and confidential arena to share feelings and speak with trained professionals.


One New Jersey group, A Healing Heart, was recently profiled on TheFix.com. They explained how a good portion of their participants are facing losses because alcohol and drug dependencies.


“By coming together, we remove the isolation and stigma as we work on our pain and grief so we can learn how to survive and have hope,” a rep told the site. “There’s this misunderstanding about people who use drugs and it can happen to anybody. And if it’s your kid then all of a sudden it’s your fault, you’re a bad parent, your kid’s a bad kid.”


Healing Heart’s founder, Franca Kirsch, started the group after her own daughter died from a heroin overdose. As with many families across the country, she experienced judgmental criticism from peers after the loss. As if she was partly to blame for her child’s habit.


Group like Healing Heart bring these issues to the forefront and include loved ones facing similar situations. It is a sad fact of life, but addictions still carry a heavy stigma (particularly those that end in overdoses). Often times, friends and family feel uncomfortable talking about it publicly among their peers. Bereavement meetings shatter those fears and provide around-the-clock support, with help lines and private social media page.


One more local group mentioned by TheFix, is called GRASP (Grief Recovery After a Substance Passing) and is based in Southern California. They also have a strong Facebook presence, where discrete conversations can be had between group members and chapter reps.


“It’s very isolating,” GRASP founder Denise Cullen told the site. “So that’s why having GRASP, and having our Facebook page that’s closed but available 24 hours a day seven days a week with 3,000 members, that you have a safe place to talk about things that you can’t talk about in your real life.”


We highly encourage anyone dealing with the loss of addicted loved one to seek out one of these groups. We happen to work closely with several near our Santa Clarita community and would be happy to direct anyone local to a bereavement support system within reach. If you or someone you know is coping with this issue, please reach out. 866-986-2486



‘Bike Therapy’ Is Becoming A Popular Recovery Tool

Summer is certainly the season to be in nature and enjoying the sunshine. And within our industry, a new treatment method is gaining popularity which takes advantage of the great outdoors. That, of course, would be Bike Therapy, which allows patients in recovery to focus their energies on challenging rides and calorie burning. Just as you imagined, bicycle therapy involves riding groups who hit trails and keep up a regular regimen.


One area where bike therapy has really caught on is Queensbury, New York. Recovery groups from that region have made big headlines recently and been profiled throughout social media. Glens Falls Hospital’s Center for Recovery recently put together a successful program, specifically targeting addicted teens. Organizer Chris Collins (himself, a recovering addict) told The Times Union that it has done wonders for people throughout his community.


“I found that biking was a great stress relief,” he explained. “It builds your confidence back up, it gives you a little self-worth when you’re out there, and you get that sense of accomplishment.”


This particular bike therapy group builds weekly challenges and encourages teamwork among its participants. Exercises include hitting specific trails each week and assigning tasks to various members. As the program goes on, the endurance levels rise and riders are forced to pedal under more extreme conditions. Counselors have found that the difficulties ultimately become very rewarding and trusting relationships are soon built.


“We’re asking them to do some really hard work,” Glen Falls counselor Joseph San Antonio added. “If we’re not going to engage them, then we’re not going to be able to do that work.”


And the best part about this particular program? If the participants successfully complete their recovery process, they are awarded new bikes; courtesy of the local Freedom Machines organization.  So far, Freedom Machines has given away 108 bikes to people in the program.


When asked about their thoughts on bike therapy, a Freedom Machines rep explained that this gift can be helpful in more ways than one. Not only do the new two-wheelers encourage independence and continuing the treatment regimens, they can enlighten the lives of former addicts who have now lost driving privileges.



We, for one, are big fans of the program and feel it can be especially applicable to the lifestyle we lead in Southern California. We are literally surrounded by beautiful trails and amazing riding opportunities. Giving a recovery patient the opportunity to appreciate that, as well as building structure and goal setting, is clearly a win win.


To learn about all of the unique therapies that we offer, we encourage everyone to reach out at 866-986-2486. We believe in all of the fundamentals behind bike therapy and can certainly have some two-wheelers waiting, if it will help your loved one achieve a successful recovery.



Pitbulls Being Used To Help In Recovery

We love reporting on new recovery techniques that are making a dent in the fight against addiction. And this month, one interesting therapy is making headlines within our industry. Now we’re all familiar with Pet Therapy and, in fact, it’s something we offer ourselves at Valley Recovery Center. But now it appears as though pitbull dogs are becoming quite popular for people who are struggling with drug and alcohol dependencies.


Over in Massachusetts, a 23-year-old recovery advocate named Marissa Burke has found that people in treatment respond especially well to this particular breed. And interestingly enough, it may have to do with the world of stereotypes.


“Pitbulls have the worst reputation,” Burke told the local Herald News outlet. “I want to show everyone what positive and beautiful dogs they are.”


You know what else gets branded with a bad reputation? Addiction. Yup, people who have crippling dependencies on drugs and alcohol are often looked down upon and criticized. Apparently bonding with an animal that is also misunderstood has helped create a special connection throughout the recovery process.


The way Marissa’s program works is by pairing a recovery patient with one designated pitbull dog. They then build relationships together and go on regular walks for two hours each week.


Though it is true that pitbulls have made headlines for attacks and fights, when raised in a good home they are actually a very loving breed. Burke explained that they are also fiercely loyal and quick to form relationships with the patients they’re paired with.


“We’re trying to get people together to walk the dogs,” program volunteer Ryan Tripp added. “It’s great to get out and get the unconditional love from a dog.”


Currently, the Pitbulls for Recovery program runs only in New England and includes a total of six dogs. Another great note is that several of the participants are rescues.


For Burke the experience is extremely personal, as her own father suffered from addiction. She also claims to have lost several friends to overdoses. Growing up in a “pit bull home” inspired her as well, as she quickly came to know what a sensitive species they are.


Though it’s still in its infancy, Pitbulls for Recovery appears to be quickly catching on and has already received a ton of media attention. They have now expanded their program to include people suffering from PTSD and continue to see positive results.


We definitely salute Marissa’s mission and, as always, will be doing our due diligence to see if perhaps a pitbull program can benefit the VRC community.



5 Signs You May Be Living With An Addict

We all know that addiction can tear apart lives, but identifying it is sometimes easier said than done. Often times, people dependent on drugs and alcohol can hide their habits extremely well; functioning with day-to-day tasks, yet crippled by the disease. Most surprising of all, there are many times when we can even be living with an addict and not see the telltale signs. That’s why we thought we’d use this blog to outline some key identifiers for loved ones, family members and roommates of people who may be using. If you’re beginning to notice a few of the indicators below, it may be time to reach out to a recovery facility.


Sign #1: Irregular Sleep Patterns

Addiction can rear its head in many ways. One in particular has to do with sleeping patterns. If the person you live with seems to conk out too much or too little, that may be the sign of a problem. Alcoholics, for example, tend to oversleep; wasting entire weekend days in bed. They also often nod off during inappropriate times. Cocaine users, on the other hand, may show opposite symptoms; acting energetic during the early dawn hours and pulling “all nighters” when the rest of the house is asleep.


Sign #2: Bathroom Oddities

This sign is particularly prominent among pill abusers. We recommend always keeping a close eye on the bathroom medicine cabinet if you suspect someone in your home is using. If prescriptions are conspicuously low or unmarked pill bottles are stored inside, a confrontation may be necessary. Also, keep an ear out for constant water running when the person is in the restroom, as this could be a signal of them trying to hide their activities.


Sign #3: Missing Items

People who are battling an addiction can do some pretty cruel and irrational things. One, in particular, is pawning valuable household items for drug or alcohol money. If you start noticing things missing from rooms in the home, there is a chance that they have been confiscated and sold. One key place to start looking for this sign is in jewelry boxes.


Sign #4: Paranoia

Stimulants and hallucinogenic drugs often cause paranoid feelings. If the person living with you suddenly exhibits delusions or irrational fears, there is a strong chance that they could be using. Key signals to look for here would be closed blinds, staying hidden in their room and anxiety around guests in the house.


Sign #5: Deception And Inconsistencies

Being untruthful is another telltale sign that someone is using. Obviously they are ashamed of their habit and are trying to keep it hidden from people in the house. We’ll be honest, some users are much better liars than others. But there are ways to pick up on this trait. For one, keep track of what they tell you. If you begin hearing inconsistencies about their whereabouts on a given day or find them struggling to offer simple answers, then it may merit a confrontation.


Truth be told, there are plenty of more signs that people give off when they’re in the throws of addiction. Hopefully the ones above have helped, but if you’re still unsure than we’d be happy to help offer a diagnosis. Valley Recovery Center’s line is always open. If you think there is an addict living in your home and want additional guidance or support, please give us a call. (866) 986-2486



Spotlight On Acunpuncturist Natalia Plotkin

It’s been a while since we shone the spotlight on a tried and true recovery advocate. And this week, we thought we’d highlight one of our own. Acupuncture extraordinaire Natalia Plotkin plays a pivotal role in the healing and recovery process of our patients. Her techniques are a vital component to the Valley Recovery Center treatment plan, improving both the physical and mental being. Natalia is also a professional masseuse and dedicated devotee to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).


For this Spotlight, we thought we’d introduce you to both Natalia and the importance of TCM in recovery.


A Personal Connection

Natalia is a shining example of someone who practices what she preaches. Not only is she highly educated, with a Master of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine, as well as a recognition from the National Certification Commission of Acupuncture, she’s someone who has benefitted personally from the use of TCM.


As she explains on her site,

I wasn’t well, and western medicine wasn’t working.  For two years I was in almost continual pain, and it required me to be on various prescribed medications that I was supposed to stay on for the rest of my life. A friend of mine suggested that I try a Wellness Center that practices Traditional Chinese Medicine. I went there and within three months I got off medication. It was also clear that this was the profession I wanted to learn. Four years later, I got my Master diploma, state license and national certification to practice this wonderful discipline.”


The Treatments

To understand why acupuncture works so well in recovery, it’s important to understand the practice itself. TCM focuses on a vital internal energy called Qi, which circulates through the body and helps maintain balance. Acupuncture works to stimulate specific pressure points, which block the flow of qi. It is applied by inserting fine, sterile and single-use needles into specified areas; all within a calm, meditative setting.


Massage (or the TCM practice of Gwa Sha) also helps with the process, increasing circulation and creating an overall feeling of physical wellness. Natalia takes her work even further, offering nutritional counseling and relaxation techniques; which are essential after going through a traumatic addiction.


Recovery Success

The truth is, acupuncture and TCM have solid scientific data backing up their success as recovery tools. Yale University, for example, conducted a study in 2000 which showed that nearly 55 percent of cocaine addicts receiving acupuncture recovery methods tested clean after graduating treatment. There is also evidence that having TCM in their regimen encourages patients to see their program to the very end. The Journal of Dual Diagnosis found that 61% of the patients who participated in biweekly acupuncture sessions completed their entire treatment program, compared to only 32% of the acupuncture abstainers.


TCM also helps create a calming environment for patients, alleviating feelings of anger and distress. In our facility, we have seen tremendous success with Natalia’s work. A proper recovery program requires inner and outer healing and we have found that acupuncture easily satisfies both needs.


To find out more about our acupuncture and TCM treatment methods, reach out to Valley Recovery Center at (866) 986-2486.




The Process Of Making Amends

Most of us are aware of the success of the 12-step method of recovery. Structured as a task list, these clear-cut objectives add focus to a former addict’s journey and create a “goal-setting” experience that is both therapeutic and rewarding. Well, two pivotal steps in the process involve Making Amends; which is a treatment method we heartily embrace at Valley Recovery Center.


In the 12 Steps, Step Eight and Step Nine reflect making amends. Clearly spelled out, they read:

  • Make a list of all persons you have harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  • Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.


Who Have You ‘Harmed’?

So, making amends truly involves two components. The first is identification. We know how harmful an addiction can be for family, friends and even acquaintances. It is not uncommon for you to lash out verbally or physically to those close to you. Perhaps it’s a parent or friend trying to intervene. It can also be a co-worker, a boss, or even someone you encounter at the grocery store. Substances like cocaine and alcohol can make a person very volatile, leading to difficult confrontations.


If your addiction had gone on for years (or even decades), the list of people you “harmed’ can be a long one. We encourage our patients to dig deep and carefully look back at every big and small encounter they may have had under the influence. This, in itself, is a very therapeutic process. It allows for reflection, remorse and helps people come to terms with the damage their addiction may have caused.


How Can You Repair The Damage?

It’s interesting to note that the word “amends” differs greatly from the word apologies. Sure we think of making amends as saying sorry to those you’ve hurt, but it actually goes much further than that. Amends can be more closely aligned with the word “restoration.” What you’re doing when you make amends is restoring damage that has been caused. This could mean repaying financial debts spurned by your addiction. It could mean fixing damaged property. The purpose of this process is to handle unfinished business, which can prove to be very challenging at times.


If you notice, there is also a slight caveat in this Amends Step; namely, to avoid hurting the person you hope to rectify a relationship with. What does that mean exactly? Well, sometimes coming too clean can cause even more pain to a loved one. If your addiction led to you cheating on a spouse, for instance. Think deeply before revealing that after the fact. If you know it will cause more heartache and, on your recovery journey, you have stopped any and all affairs, then be selective in what you choose to reveal.


We understand that this can be a difficult process and a very personal one. At Valley Recovery Center, we use trained counselors and life coaches to guide each patient through the identification and reparation process. Every journey is unique, but it cannot be fully complete without revisiting the damage of the past. To learn more about our Amends Programs, give us a call at (866) 986-2486.


Grief And Loss In Recovery

Throughout our weekly blogs, we like to explore some of the methods we use in the Valley Recovery Center treatment regimen. Previously, we explored the philosophies behind “Seeking Safety” and now, we thought we’d share some details about our Grief and Loss program. We know what you’re thinking…”Grief and Loss? That seems more fitting for people who have seen a loved one pass away.” Well truth be told, kicking an long term addiction can be like a death in the family because of the regular routines that are now out of your life.


To us, Grief and Loss can mean a multitude of things. Death and addiction are closely intertwined. Even if a user survived their habit, they may have seen close friends succumb to the disease. In other instances, a death can trigger the start of an addiction. If a parent, for example, abruptly passed during adolescence, drugs and alcohol may have been used as coping mechanisms. Our therapy sessions explore all of that.


At Valley Recovery Center, we also take Grief and Loss to an aftercare level. If you are a family member of someone who died from an overdose, we do have counseling options. We invite those impacted by an addiction death to visit our facility and sit in on sessions. Survivors are also included in group therapies, illustrating to those recovering how painful it is when they are ripped from their loved ones’ lives.


Going back to the loss of using; yes, this is part of the regimen. No matter how grateful a patient is that they are sober, there is now a new void in their lives. Patients can often miss the “thrill” of getting high. We are only human, after all, and counseling and support are necessary to push through those feelings.


Rituals are a big part of addiction as well. Patterns that were built in to everyday life are no longer present. Many do look at their habit as a relationship of sorts, turning to a drug or drink for comfort. We work to wean our patients off of that mindset because, as we all know, addiction is not just a physical need, it’s emotional.


The Symptoms Of Grief

So, what can one expect if they are “grieving” the loss of their addiction? Feeling overwhelmed is a common reaction, which can create confusion and disorientation. Typical examples of this may include forgetting where you left something, missing an appointment or difficulty maintaining a schedule.


Grief can also manifest through tears and emotional spells. As tough as our male patients think they are, losing a habit can easily lead to weeping sessions. That is totally normal and we actually encourage it as a way of expressing yourself.


A general loss of interest is one more grief symptom to watch out for. Without the regular high, people tend to feel an ongoing void. Therapy and redirection can repair that and we have the tools to help.


If addiction has created a sense of emptiness in your life or your family’s life, we encourage you to reach out. Our counselors have years of training in the areas of grief, loss and depression. Call us today and see how we can help. (866) 986-2486



Addiction Trauma And ‘Seeking Safety’

At Valley Recovery Center, we have a wide variety of services, therapies and methods to help get people on the path to recovery. Some are typical withdrawal programs (such as detox) and others a bit more unconventional (like Wolf Therapy or Archery). For us, the sum is greater than the parts and having a diverse mix of treatments has proven to be very effective. One of our more interesting counseling models is called Seeking Safety. Seeking Safety is an important part of our regimen and can really help patients dealing with trauma or difficult addictions. For this blog feature, we thought we’d share a little about the practices behind Seeking Safety and why we feel it’s so important.


What Is Seeking Safety?

In clinical terms, Seeking Safety is an evidence-based model of recovery treatment that can be used for group or individual counseling. It was developed in 2002 under a grant from the National Institute of Drug Abuse. At its core, Seeking Safety is a coping therapy specifically designed for people with painful pasts. Combative households, PTSD, sexual abuse…these are all prime examples of traumatic events and can be very influential in the formation of an addiction. To help get a patient to let go of their substance habit, we sometimes have to explore the early issues that led them there. Seeking Safety helps to do just that, by working as a concurrent treatment that explores the addiction habit and the traumas that may have been the catalyst. Counselors trained in this method work to create “safe” zones, helping patients envision what safety would look like in their lives and how to cope with it.


Seeking Safety also focuses on the present, teaching specific coping strategies that may never have been learned during a dysfunctional childhood. Trauma and addiction are treated simultaneously and unique topics are set up to build trust and engagement with the patient.


Defining The Topics

One of the ways Seeking Safety works is by setting 25 defined topics, rotated into a weekly therapy regimen. It is important to understand each one and how they play into the recovery method. Topic 1, for example, is called Taking Back Your Power. Here, compassion is brought into the therapy, helping patients to accept their past, let go of anger and take control of their lives. Grounding is another key method, which teaches patients to detach from emotional pain. The intent, is to shift attention toward the external world and away from negative feelings. When Substances Control You is a cognitive topic, which uses unique exercises to help let go of addiction. “Climbing Mount Recovery” is one very effective component of Substances, which uses visualization as a tool.


Topic exercises like Red and Green Flags help identify “dangerous” scenarios in everyday life, while Self Nurturing allows patients to imagine rewarding “gifts” and the concept of pleasurable sobriety. There is also The Life Choices Game, Coping With Triggers and Setting Boundaries in Relationships, just to name a few. As patients move along in their recovery, they ultimately surpass the Topics and, with time, learn to let go of their trauma.


To us, Seeking Safety is a fascinating, comprehensive method for recovery. There are no limitations to how a counselor can build the topic list and patients, often times, help structure the itinerary themselves.


To dig deeper into Seeking Safety, we highly recommend reading Dr. Lisa M. Najavits’ book on the subject. Or reach out to Valley Recovery Center at (800) 986-2486 to learn about our classes and counselors.



Recovery And Resume Building

Two of the key factors in a successful recovery are discipline and, interestingly enough, distraction. Channeling the energies a patient used to put into substance abuse towards more productive means can be very rewarding. It can also teach the brain to focus on tasks other than getting high. That is why we have found Resume Building to be an important milestone of our recovery regimen.


In many cases, addiction can hurt people professionally. Alcoholics and drug abusers often find themselves losing jobs and alienating co-workers. So, after sobriety, when the time comes to re-enter the workforce, a polished resume is essential.


At Valley Recovery Center, we have made Workforce Rehabilitation part of our weekly schedule. Not only do our facilitators sit with patients and help them craft compelling resumes, we also give them guidance on re-learning the steps behind a job application. If someone is a student, or hoping to re-enter the academic world, we provide hands-on assistance on that process as well.


We have found this regimen to be an essential tool for the post-recovery process. It also works as a major confidence booster. Starting over in the workplace brings a sense of accomplishment and shows a patient that they can repair whatever damage addiction has caused to their lives.


If you are interested in learning more about our Resume Building program (or any of our other treatment methods), reach out to Valley Recovery Center at (866) 986-2486.

Mom’s Addiction Essay Goes Viral

You can never predict which types of blogs “go viral” with the masses. Every now then, a certain story can touch the nerve of America and spark an online sensation. This past week that story belonged to stay-at-home mom  Jen Simon, who candidly discussed her battle with opioid addiction.


“My life as a stay-at-home mom was the perfect disguise,” she wrote in her essay. “There are millions of us addicts disguised as regular people. We’re not all rock stars: We’re your neighbor or you sister. We’re in the pickup line, waiting for our kids. We’re on the PTA.”


Though happy on the surface, Jen detailed a crippling addiction that began after the birth of her first child. Dealing with physical pain and postpartum depression, she was  able to get a Percocet prescription from her family physician.


Eventually Jen began abusing the painkillers and saw her habit escalate. At its worst, she described, Simon began pilfering friends’ medicine cabinets for any sort of fix.  That’s when she confided in her husband and sought out professional help.


“Addiction is often isolating and secretive and it’s hard to get help if you can’t break the silence,” she concluded in her post. “I hope this piece can be used as a launching point for someone to say to a friend, ‘I’m worried about you,’ or for someone to take a closer look at herself and her interactions with drugs or alcohol.”


Clearly Jen’s writings have struck a nerve, as US Magazine and countless major outlets can attest to.