PORTSMOUTH — During a Thursday panel, entrepreneurs as close as Portsmouth and as far away as Canada discussed their work and experience in dealing with addiction.
Whether through addiction services, podcasts or books, the panel hosted by the Shawnee State University Kricker Innovation Hub has taken varying ways to become sober and to promote others to follow that route.
At the point which drew many of the five-person panel to substance abuse disorders was trauma, including founder of the SHE Recovers Foundation Taryn Strong and Jesse Harless, author of “If not you, then who?.”
“These childhood traumas led me to the beliefs that I was not worthy,” said Strong, who ran away from home when 16. “I just believed that I was the worthless human and I really had this story that I did not belong.”
Trauma first pushed Harless into fantasy and considerable amounts of time on the computer, where eventually he was pulled into addiction with drugs and alcohol.
“I wanted to get outside of myself,” he said, adding that substantial time of his life was spent trying to get away from this feeling. “If I could just chase my life, my purpose in the same way, I’m going to be successful.”
Breaking through both narratives and stigmas was a common theme, Strong herself overcoming her family’s history of addiction and later starting her foundation with her mother.
Stigma, where others may look down on someone trying to get past their addiction, exists but is only as powerful as someone makes it the panel surmised. That push back was present occasionally when John Evans, who started the RAW Addiction organization in Portsmouth, would share his story.
His story of addiction described the lengths he would take to scratch his need, Evans saying he would either bike or hitchhike if he could not drive to the location. Sharing these stories publicly, which he does with a live video chats on Saturdays, is a way of redirecting that energy and helping others.
“What if your story is the one they need to hear?,” Evans asks himself when telling his 20-year battle. “We’re all just one bad decision from where we were. Every story has meaning.”
Harless said placing too much emphasis on stigma detracts from the goal of sharing these stories, where more focus should go toward a promotion of the message.
“If we’re putting our attention on stigma, that’s where our energy is going,” he said, celebrating 15 years sober December. More people are supportive of
Now when stress has been amplified during the pandemic many have turned to drugs and alcohol as coping methods. This method, unhealthy even to those not addicted, is certainly not a way for those with S.A.D. to deal with stress.
The panel identified these other forms of mitigating stress, which they have felt in their entrepreneurial missions:
- Doing it for others
“We’re not looking for rigidity in your practices, but we are looking for consistency,” said Eric Zimmer, host of “The One You Feed” podcast. “The minute I perceive that I can handle what’s happening, it’s not stressful in the same way.”
Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3501 ext. 1931, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.
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