I was asked at my last speaking engagement by a woman, “Kristina Do you think that helping others is a new addiction for you?”
I was surprised by the question. I stood in silence for minutes as I considered my response.
“In my addiction, I did terrible things. I am a person who has done anything to get and stay high. I have robbed homes, sold my body, I have hurt my family; changing and altering their lives forever, which is a weight I carry. I was viscous and cold and heartless. I stole from you anything I could take and would lie to get want I wanted. Every second I was awake I wanted to die. I lived this way for years, and would infect anyone near me with the misery of my addiction.
In the last 17 years, I have tried to change my outlook on life. I have made peace with those I harmed most, including myself. I have laid the truth of my life and addiction out for the public see, and bared the vulnerability of standing, bare, exposed and honest, in hopes that others might learn. I have built a practice helping families, fighting and waging the war against active addiction. I have sat up late into the night with newcomer women who are scared and overwhelmed at the prospect of a life sober, when drinking and using is what we do best. I have sat in homeless shelters, spoken at numerous high schools, churches and community centers, trying to educate on addiction and inspire change and recovery. In 17 years, I have gone from opening my eyes in the morning, feeling so angry that I was still alive, to opening my eyes, and asking myself, ‘how can I help today?”
My life has purpose and at the end of the day, when the kids are asleep and the work is done, the house is quite and the day complete, I can honestly say, I am proud of who I am and the life I lead.”
The room stood, and applauded, as tears rolled down my cheeks.
If a life of service is a needle in my veins, I’ll shoot it, if helping others fills me with the sweet sense of purpose, I will inhale it and if giving of myself helps others ‘live and rediscover life,’ I’ll drink it.
If helping others is addiction, I say, “let’s get Addicted.”