"The best highs are earned through just being yourself and the positive choices you make; not found in a bag or bottle." -I quote that I wrote back in sixth grade. Hello Readers, My name is Bria Riley. I am a published author, freelance writer, and recovering codependent and adult child of an alcoholic. I have been featured on The Addiction Show, The Story Board Project, and AddictionBlog.org. I found my destiny of using my writing to help others through my adversity. I am hoping that through my blog posts, I can help other young people find their destinies through their adversities.
The fact that the young people in the family are the ones who are hurt the most by the family disease of addiction is not acknowledged enough, which is why I was propelled to start this blog. From my personal experience and hearing many stories in Al-Ateen, Al-Anon, Codependent's Anonymous, and mixed self-help programs, growing up in an addiction-stricken family affects children in all areas such as school, work, friendships, intimate relationships, family relationships, etc. as they grow into adolescence and adulthood. Young people who have grown up in addiction are different than their peers who did not grow up in an addiction-stricken family. Some of those differences are positive such as being extra motivated in school or work and having a deeper, more mature perspective on situations, and some of those differences are not so positive such as being attracted to unhealthy friends and intimate partners. In this blog, I will bring to light the positive differences and share the tools I have learned to help resolve the negative differences. My Backstory My passion was ignited when I was merely 10 years-old and in fourth grade. My dad was incarcerated, and I experienced the wrath of my two cousins' drug addictions. That situation stirred up a desire to take action about the injustice that was done to me. When I was fifth grade, I was compelled to learn more about the disease of addiction when I saw the show Addicted on TLC. I had been affected by the alcoholism and drug addictions of several family members for as long as I could remember, so I was no stranger to the turmoil of addiction. However, I did not know that addiction was a disease and that it was a more complex matter than fighting, losing jobs, going to jail, etc. From there, I started watching Addicted and Intervention regularly, doing internet research, and reading various books about addiction such as The Lost Years, Addicted Like Me, Tales of Addiction and Inspiration for Recovery, and Addict in the Family to educate myself about the beast that I knew so well, but knew so little about. I was not imbibing the massive amount of information to go into addiction counseling as a career; I was imbibing the massive amount of information because I wanted to understand my family members and my life. I always possessed a knack for writing and storytelling. Before I knew how to write, I would "write" stories by drawing pictures. In elementary school, I would fill spiral notebooks up with stories, writing novels. During the summer before my eighth grade year, I decided that it was time to combine my hobby of writing and interest in addiction by writing a book about addiction. In the fall of my eight grade year, I published A Stolen Childhood, a fictional story that was based briefly on my life. Throughout high school, I proceeded to write five more books and started my original blog wherehopeisborn.wordpress.com (no longer active). That was when I realized that I could utilize my writing to help others who have been affected by addiction.
Even though I was thriving academically and in writing for recovery and speaking for Al-Anon Family Groups at Anniversary Meetings, I was still greatly struggling internally. Codependents often thrive externally while they are battling a mighty internal war. I was still in active codependency to my one cousin who suffered from a substance use disorder and possibly a personality disorder and was pending release from prison, and I was drowning in almost all 14 of traits of Adult Children of Alcoholics, making the teenage years much harder than most. I hit bottom the summer after high school when I was months shy from my 19th birthday when my cousin was released and was relapsing into his active addiction and I fell into such a depression over the fact that I could not save him (it was never my job to save him) and was the worst in my codependency than I ever was. Finding the right counselors and becoming active in my recovery programs helped me rip off those band-aids, reach inside those wounds to get to the core of them, and finally start to heal for real. My recovery is still a work in progress. Just because I have this blog and write does not mean I have it all together by any means lol. Everyday is a new series of lessons and presents much room for improvement for the days to follow. Where I Am Now I am currently live in Southern New Jersey. I am a 2018 graduate of Washington Township High school and am pursuing my bachelor of arts in psychology (no surprise lol) and world religions with a minor in women & gender studies at Rowan University. I love learning about the intersection between the three subjects and am grateful to be going to a school that gives me enough room to explore them all. I work part-time as a freelance writer for Textbroker International and substitute paraprofessional in my local school districts. I am living one day at a time and trusting the process of life and the Universe to take me where I am meant to be on this crazy, unconventional, and wonderful journey. When I am not writing, working, attending self-help meetings, or doing school work, I enjoy listening to music, watching my favorite show General Hospital, cooking, coloring, hanging out with my stuffed dogs Pluto and Snoopy and stuffed lamb Lambie, and going to the Jersey Shore during the summer. I hope that through reading my blog, you will find hope and encouragement to find your destiny through adversity. Sincerely, Bria Riley