I AM A SURVIVOR:My thoughts and memories of the past 10 years of my recovery from addiction – Love, Wendy

Ten years ago to the day, today, I took my last dose of “self medication” consisting of 2 Tylenol with Codeine #60 and 8mg of Xanax.

I began my intense treatment for Substance Use Disorder (SUD) on April 3, 2013. What a decade long journey it has been.

I think of the list of challenges and adversity that presented itself over the past decade, and I am in awe of my strength, my discipline, and my devotion to wellness in my recovery through “An Integrative Approach To Wellness in Recovery” which I coined and created.

This decade brought with it highs and lows, and everything in between including bankruptcy in 2014, beginning a new career as a Recovery Specialist and Client/Family Advocate for those living with SUD and mental illness, as well as becoming certified and trained as a practitioner in Integrative Nutrition, Mental Health First Aid, Suicide Safety, becoming a Board Certified Peer Specialist, Spiritual Wellness, MAT treatment, Narcan, CPR, Trauma Informed Approach, to name a few.

I have written a book, Write Pray Recover :A Journey to Wellness through Spiritual Solutions and Self Care.

This interactive book/journal is based on my lived experience, as well as my field experience in the mental health/substance use disorder field, and my work in the field as an Integrative Nutrition Holistic Health Coach. This book gives the reader an opportunity to self reflect, to write about it, and to use this book as a tool for self discovery and exploration, and healing.

I am hoping to realize my greatest dream of going out on a book signing and speaking tour worldwide!

I was the Keynote speaker recently at the Chris Ashman Wellness & Recovery Conference, and I speak at various recovery events across NY state, and globally including LIVE radio broadcasts, and podcasts! In addition, I have a private practice where I serve others who are beginning recovery. I work as a part of their “treatment team” and bring my program, An Integrative Approach To Wellness in Recovery, to the solution. This is a program that is tailored to one’s specific needs and desires. It is a non linear program, and as we ebb and flow, the program continues to be modified. The client leads the team. Inherently, we all know what we need to heal. We ask for support and guidance as we explore and discover our authentic self, ongoing.

Sadly during my recovery, I lost my mother in 2020, who gave up on life, I suffered severe physical health challenges, broke up with the man I thought I’d spend the rest of my life with, and had to make a conscious choice to sever relationships that were contributing to my anxiety and overall well being in a negative way. I navigated it all without any mind altering substances, and instead, summoned every holistic healing tool and practitioner that I could find to guide me.

The relationships with my children and friends have become unbreakable and meaningful as my family and friends observed my metamorphosis one day at a time, and stood on the sidelines cheering me on.

My “integrative approach in recovery” has been testament to the fact that each of us can choose the pathway to our own recovery, and be successful when we remain diligent and disciplined to the components of said program. There are many pathways to recovery that co-exist in alignment with necessary medical supervision in the first year, at least, of one’s recovery.

On Tuesday, April 4, 2023, I will begin my 11th year of Wellness in Recovery from prescription drug addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders.

My son said to me today, “I can’t tell you enough how inspiring it is! If it wasn’t for you leading the way, I wouldn’t have made it! So proud!!
You must be super proud of yourself too! Look where you are now. Even with the pain you sometimes experience in life, you stood strong and never fell backwards. That’s amazing. Very inspiring.” And my daughter Liv said this morning, “That’s really good! I’m really proud of you!”

It is for my children and grandchildren that I continue along this exciting, albeit sometimes challenging journey. I want to lead the way in showing them by actions, not just by words, that when we actively engage our mind over the challenge, anything and everything is a possibility.

As for the saying, “When we know better, we do better,” Amen. And it is up to us to continue to learn and to evolve in order to make healthy choices and to do better for ourselves lifelong. This practice ripples out into our immediate environment as a positive mindset and approach, and offers new perspective to consider, and eventually, it ripples out into the world where we begin to see change.

I will end with this quote that I wrote in my recovery early on, and which appears in my book on page 3 and 4:

“I am a survivor. I am not my past defined by a disease that

temporarily altered my being. I am a warrior who now holds

the space for others to experience their authentic selves in the

present moment. This is a blessing and a gift. I am here as a vessel

to usher the boat away from the shore. The waves do not hold

me back as I have learned to navigate, and swim right into the

waves. I’ve learned to go with the flow, and to feel the sun lighting

my way on my journey. I live with great pride, and in peace, as

I continue to experience the ripples and waves in un-chartered

territory. I continue to evolve, poised for the next rush of waves,

with certainty of my strength, always grateful for new opportunities

to grow. I am a survivor.”

– Wendy Blanchard, M.S., INHC, NYCPS

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