We Are All In The Gutter, But Some Of Us Are Looking At The Stars
"To Start, I'm a recovering Drug Addict named Ashley. On June 11, 2018 WE celebrated 6 years clean. I say we because it took more then will power to keep me clean. When Greg asked me to do this shoot I agreed, either from ego and pride or gratitude and humility. Or a mixture. I learned when I first got clean that Normal people pray to keep from going to hell, Addicts pray to keep from returning. It’s true for me. Active addiction is a living hell. The desperation and degradation the disease of addiction has created in me was my driving force behind every choice I made. It’s like demons whispering in your ear telling you to partake in the Devil's communion. To ingest the devil's body instead of the body of Christ. I lost sense of what was right and wrong. Most morals and principles left me. My only desire was to satisfy my insatiable need of More. I lost countless jobs, apartments, vehicles, family and friends. I signed my rights to my children away just to keep them safe from myself. Through grace, in my darkest hour I found NA and a Higher Power of my own choosing. I found that I have a disease and learned how to treat it. I learned that doing the next right thing and practicing faith in times of doubt help me grow stronger. I have hope for tomorrow, as long as I don’t pick up Just for today. I’ve become aware that addiction is a cunning, baffling and insidious disease that never leaves, it just becomes arrested. I also learned that as an addict I’m not like non addicts, I can NOT have just one drink or one high without going to extremes. I’ve lost dozens of people to their disease and it reminds me why, no matter what I can't and won't pick up. I could go on about what I’ve lost and gained but that’s not important. What’s important is that I’ve grown, changed and learned how to live life on life's terms without the use of drugs. I’ve become stronger then I ever knew I was, and I’m still learning how to live on a daily basis. I’m grateful I had friends and family who loved me enough to tell me I had a problem and I’m grateful to be alive. So when Greg and I finished the shoot I told him, “It's nice to re-enact my use without all the side effects of losing everything.” The pain addiction afflicts not only in me, but to everyone around me, is devastating and I never want to return. I’m here now, to love and help my fellow addict when they reach out for help. It’s my way to give back. All in all, I’m a grateful recovering Addict named Ashley, and I am clean Just for today."