Hello, welcome to the WEconnect blog; I’m so happy you’re here. This blog is designed to provide a safe space for all walks, and a resource for anyone impacted by substance use disorder, and even those questioning/considering their own substance use habits. Before I go into detail about the blog, I’d like to share a bit about myself and my own recovery journey from substance misuse.
My parents and I are from Romania, and we lived in three different countries throughout my childhood before immigrating to the US. From these experiences, I learned and experienced amazing cultures; I also had a lot of untreated trauma. This manifested itself in high school through my severe eating restrictions and overexercising, and in college as drinking and misusing drugs. After a decade of that lifestyle, I received unconditional love from my best friend, who kindly and honestly helped me see that I needed to change. I knew I couldn’t live with drugs and alcohol anymore, but I didn’t know how to live without them either. My journey of recovery began here, in many ways.
It wasn’t a direct path; I moved back to Seattle from LA, and between a DUI and missing my court date, I was booked into SCORE (a jail). After getting bailed out and waiting almost a week for an open bed, I opted into an inpatient treatment program, but I didn’t think it would work. I did it so that I could show my parents that I had tried everything, even though I really thought my life was over at that point. I firmly believed I would not be alive after the next 30 days. Luckily that isn’t what happened.
When I entered that inpatient program, I didn’t think treatment could help me, and I truly didn’t think my life was going to continue past that. However, I instantly felt connected to the other people in treatment with me who were going through the journey like I was, and I realized that human connection was a key point in sustaining long-term recovery. But I also knew that in 28 days, we were all going to go back to our old environments and weren’t going to be as close. I knew that there had to be a way to create a bridge between the human connection we were sharing and the future of our recoveries—otherwise, statistics showed that 80% of us were at risk of experiencing a recurrence of use that could lead to us overdosing or dying within that very year. That thought saddened and scared me, but it was the first inkling of a greater idea that continued to grow.
“For me, WEconnect is what I needed and what I wish I had when I started on my journey.”
Then, when I was discharged I was given a piece of paper that outlined all the things I was supposed to do on a weekly basis for the rest of my life; I wondered how I could possibly sustain long-term recovery when I was already feeling so overwhelmed.
Later that day, I went through the Starbucks drive-through, and didn’t realize my card had been shut off. My card was declined, and as I was handing my coffee back to the barista, I apologized & disclosed that I had just been in an inpatient program and didn’t know my card wasn’t working. The barista not only gave me my drink back, but he also gave me a free cake pop. It was that act of kindness, that gift that made me feel good and lifted the stress I had about checking into my recovery housing and my outpatient appointments and 12-step meetings.
In that moment, I had an epiphany uniting those three things—the connection I felt in the treatment facility, figuring out how to stay accountable to the most important activities for my recovery, and the power of kindness—and realized how a small reward had helped me see a way toward the future. I knew that if I could put those three things together, not only could that help keep me in recovery, but it could even help others—like the people I was in that treatment center with, and maybe even beyond—with their recovery. For me, WEconnect is what I needed and what I wish I had when I started on my journey; I was experiencing this existential anxiety and fear about recovery, and I knew it was very likely that the solution that I was conceiving could help some portion of the millions and millions of people feeling the same way.
At first, I was hesitant about starting a business so fresh into my recovery, but I just couldn’t get the idea out of my mind. One thing after another kept happening and kept bringing me back to it, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I started working on that idea one day at a time, day after day every day, and eventually it became a business. Today, I’m so grateful to work with such a great group of amazing people dedicated to helping others in their recovery. When I see WEconnect member feedback that explains how using the WEconnect app has been the cornerstone to their recovery, it reignities my mission in life to help others. I’m honored to know that we’re impacting people’s lives in a very real way.
There are so many paths to finding yourself and your community, and there’s no “right way” to do recovery. WEconnect truly believes and embodies this, and my hope is that by reading the posts of our staff members, contributors, and peer support specialists who are vulnerable and brave in sharing their own stories of recovery, you can find some connection and community that can help you on your own path in life.
We are building this blog for the same reason we created and continue to improve WEconnect: to be a resource for those impacted by substance misuse. Whether you’re in recovery yourself, you know and love someone who has been impacted by substance misuse, or are looking for viable substance use disorder solutions, you’re here for a reason, and I’m glad you are—welcome!