Story 1/25 Survivor: Heidi Smith

Survivors stand strong in their truth. This is a pretty valid statement. We do things that are out of our comfort zone to heal our broken pieces. We do things to strengthen ourselves and to take ownership when harm is caused to another. Survivors show up for others and appreciate with extreme gratitude every breath we take once we have begun to heal. We have good days and we have bad days. A survivor comes in many different forms. In order to be a survivor you need to recognize and always remember ‘the war’ we have endured. Being a victim of circumstance is NOT always a choice – but being a survivor is.
Being a survivor doesn’t mean always being strong – it’s telling people when we need something. It’s paying attention to our heart wisdom, feelings, and not always living the ‘tough person’ role. Instead we have a unique, authentic life now while always finding something within to contribute to another. A survivor self cares, finds time to feel everything and never forgets to laugh, to cry, to love again and to be loved.

My name is Heidi, I am the founder and owner of Addictive Designs and I am a survivor. I came into recovery April 22, 2011 – I was 38 years old. In the moment I arrived I was broken; actually smashed – into a million little pain-filled pieces. I had lost my son to the ministry of children, my families trust, all of my belongings, my license, my friends, my dignity, my health, my well being and my capabilities to be a functioning member of society. I was addicted to any drug that got me out of myself – sadly I didn’t care who I hurt as I was crawling in my own skin and in pain when I didn’t have access to drugs. I used drugs to live and lived to use drugs so I would not feel any of that pain I had from the years of destruction and harm of myself and of others. I used alone, prefered to be alone and never shared my true life experiences with anyone else for many years. Everything in my life that should of been important – was not.
My disease of addiction, dishonesty and self centeredness had gripped me hard.
When I hit my bottom I hit so hard that I literally fell and skidded to a complete stop. I was finally willing to change and do anything I was told from those ahead of me. I still follow this path almost 6 years from the day.
Today I am recovering from drug/alcohol addiction, PTSD, trauma, abuse, anxiety, disordered eating, grief and loss. I believe that my extreme stubbornness, independence and strong survival skill-set let me run a little longer than most in the darkness of my addiction; 25 years to be exact. It really progressed from my mid 20’s onward. I know today, I put myself in situations that contributed to way more harm than I ever deserved… although for many years I thought I did deserve what had happened to me by my high risk behaviors. I have learned to take responsibility for harm of myself and of others in the recovery process and I have forgiven those – who put quite simply – most of society, would never ever forgive.
I also know as of today my true value and my worth. I remain clean and sober by applying daily: hard core work on my inner self and my recovery, a connection with creator that allows me to grow and learn spiritually, I ask for help when needed and help others when asked. Today I know my limitations, my boundaries, my strengths and my weaknesses. I don’t ever try to be someone I am not. I learn from my mistakes. I also stay true to myself, my beliefs, my values and my morals.

I am telling you who I was not for sympathy but so you are aware that I am not alone today in my successes of recovering and healing. Most every person I come across today has a similar story to at least one of mine.
I believe this statement – ‘The World is recovering’. More people need to come out and share their stories to help another so they know that they are not alone. Society has a way of grouping people by addictions, race, religion, age, sex, financial statuses, and the list goes on. I am NOT that person. I feel today that we all have suffered or continue to suffer from some sort of internal pain, grief, loss of loved ones, abuse and or multiple addictions in our lifetimes.
When I was active in my struggles it affected the three things we humans all share; my heart, my soul and my purpose in life. It takes time to get to the place of peace, understanding and acceptance. It takes time to heal and forgive. Never will I belittle or judge the speeds or levels that this may happen with another.

Over the next 25 days I will be sharing with you all stories from 25 different survivors I know personally who beat the odds. We have unified through sharing our truths to strengthen our own successes in the World. We must unify and share our ‘survival skills’ to be productive members of society. I would never have earned the title of a survivor on my own. We become survivors together. I feel there is no materialist gift that can heal brokenness. The greatest gift of all… Is the gift of life. Not just life – but a life worth living.

I came up with the idea for this holiday season of the ‘25 days of December Survivors’ to share completely different stories in the hopes that they may help another out of there suffering the same symptoms and realities so they know they are never alone.

I dedicate these stories to those who are still suffering in their pain, loss and grief.

We dedicate these stories to those we have lost this year to the the rising overdose epidemic.

Please – if you are suffering, reach out to another and make change. In the next month you will find many different survivor stories here that are all different and maybe.. just maybe, you will find out you are never alone and can find help.

Check in every day to read a new story shared by another.

In love and service,

Founder/CE0: Addictive Designs


#AddictiveDesigns #Interventionsondemand #UGM #Vancouver #Recovery #Survivor #Iamasurvivor


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