Name: B. Rae Perryman
Location: Washington, DC
Recovery date (turning point for addiction or mental illness):
I'm a writer, activist, and an advocate.
If applicable to your story, drug of choice:
Cannabis, cocaine, benzos, speed, psychedelics, alcohol
Your story in a nutshell:
It's messy and complicated. Drug abuse was a maladaptive coping mechanism for me, and I used and abused drugs of all sorts for 16 years. I went cold turkey on alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes all at once, completely by accident. I had withdrawal psychosis, and eventually ended up in treatment. I had one chance, and I took it. Recovery was difficult at first, and I've had to make it the cornerstone of my entire life just to stay on track. Now, helping others and advocating for science- and human rights-based drug policy are key to my success. If you want to keep it, you've got to give it away.
Top 5 Recovery/Wellness Tools:
1) Not caring what anyone thinks.
At all. If I did that, I'd be dead. I don't fit into boxes, and I'm very aware that people reject those that boldly reject convention. I live it every day. But I just can't care. I'm trying to stay alive, and make a difference while I'm here.
2) Insisting on living in reality.
It can be off-putting and potentially abrasive, and I do practice as much kindness as I can. But, I have to stay completely grounded in what actually *is*. I don't care about what things look like, I care about what they are.
3) Living philosophically, as opposed to materialistically.
I read and re-read lots of philosophy, and am happy to get lost in the arts. If I didn't have the background and education I do in philosophy and pragmatism, I don't think I'd be alive. I wouldn't be able to stay sober if I lived for things, feelings, appearances, accolades, money, success, or whatever else people live for. It's stoic and perhaps quite nihilistic in a way, but existentially, it's the only thing that works for me.
4) Solo time.
I meditate, listen to music, write, read, walk, spend time in nature, travel, and think. I have to.