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  • Ally Kernan

Casually Telling a Stranger That I'm a Heroin Addict & Ex-Convict

I will literally bring up surviving heroin addiction as if it were as casual as sharing where I bought my coat. 🤷🏼‍

I attended a party of some fancy folks - you know, the ones who only discuss which Ivy League school their child attends - and t

his complete stranger started up some small talk. It started to get deeper and I could tell he was hesitating on describing what was happening with his young adult son. There was a lot of dancing around what I sensed he had experienced.

“My son- he uh, well uh, he had some, umm, challenges when he got around substances,” he says to me as I answer his question on what my occupation is.

My heart cringed as I observed this person sink into a shame hole. So, as calm & casual as I could be, I smiled and responded, “Me too. I struggled with OxyContin and heroin addiction for years- I ended up homeless, then in prison because of it. Thankfully I survived and can help people now. I’m so sorry you’re experiencing this pain with your son, I remember how tough it was on my family, and when I was the family member witnessing another’s addiction.”

This man cried to me within seconds after sharing this with him. His face of shock was something I expected- but the way he opened up about his world with his son after I had said those few statements - became a motivator for me to continue my casual talk about tough things.

No more shame, no more stigma.

Although it can be terrifying to reveal the life experiences we have had, it’s worth the trolls, and ignorant comments.

Because it could save a life.

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