I was wrong, just so wrong. I believed addicts were people who didn't have self-control. They were poor, had no loving family, and lived in tough urban areas. I would read stories in the paper about an overdose death and think, “I'm so happy that my son Andy will never be an addict. My son is a happy, straight-A student who is an artist and violinist, lives in a nice home, and has two loving parents. He even won first place in the D.A.R.E. essay contest!” And I thought it was all because I provided such a good environment for my son. What a great parent I was! My attitude was pompous, incredibly naïve, and judgmental. It was a fantasy world, a world in which many people live.
Andy's dad and I buried our only child on February 18, 2011 at the tender age of 22. He died of a heroin overdose.
—Pam Katchuk, www.heroesinrecovery.com
In a comfortable, suburban home in Raleigh, North Carolina, Pam Katchuk sat at her computer and typed the words “volunteer and stigma” into Google. That's how she discovered the Heroes in Recovery community, which led to her becoming a guest blogger on the website, and later a lead advocate for the movement. Lee Pepper, the Chief Marketing Officer of Foundations Recovery Network (FRN), met Katchuk in person for the first time at an advocate retreat in Nashville ...