I work well under pressure.
Which is why I waited until the last second to write this post.
If I had planned it all out it wouldn’t come off right. So here I am, trying to figure out the right way to lay this one out…Clearly it’s not an easy post for me to write. Especially since it’s affected my family so deeply.
Surely you have a friend or family member who has struggled with addiction. Maybe you’ve even struggled with the disease. Or maybe you’ve simply seen the dark side on TV. Regardless there are multiple types of addiction. Today we’re going to talk specifically about drug & alcohol addiction.
Because that’s what I know.
I am a public person- it’s my job to be public & it’s what I signed up for, but there’s a lot of me that’s private. Private because I am not ready to discuss my entire life story yet. Other parts are private because they’re not my stories to tell. Addiction, however, is something I’ve wanted to discuss for a long time on The Skinny Confidential but I’ve waited until the time was right.
And now it’s right.
It’s right for a plethora of reasons.
It’s right because of TSC secret Facebook group which has proven the need for depth. Seriously- through the thousands of women who are part of The Skinny Confidential community I’ve seen a need to get real. To watch you guys engage & interact in a non-judgemental space has been INCREDIBLE. Really blows my mind.
It’s right because I believe that this post & podcast on addiction will help someone- or shit, maybe it will simply open the conversation that the Internet facade life isn’t always rosé & oysters. A lot of bloggers talk about food & fashion in the most whimsical, beautiful, curated way but I hope to be the blog or space that goes deeper…because that’s what I look for in a blog. DEPTH. I have gone through shit. HAVEN’T WE ALL? That’s just life, right? It’s important for me to celebrate the highs & acknowledge the lows. So always know that you won’t just find home decor tips & recipes here- I have always wanted this space to be much bigger than me or what I’m doing. So this post is right because it may help or open up real life conversation.
And it’s right because my sister, Faye, who struggled with addiction, is in such a strong place to share her story. Which is why I’m so happy to have her & her fiancé on the podcast today.
My sister, Faye, is five years younger than me.
When we were little we were best friends from the second she was born. No surprise to you, I was a bossy older sister & always wanted to be the teacher ( shocking ) in every situation. Faye was always game- she looked up to me in the sweetest way. She was ( & is ) BEAUTIFUL. Like the most beautiful little girl ever guys- huge baby blue eyes with a Tina Turner bun she wore at the top of her head. Faye made everyone laugh constantly. I was with her 24/7.
Things happened in our childhood which is a huge post or 100…or a book.
Anyway, after these things happened the light in my sister’s eyes changed.
I remember when she was 13 ( I was 18 & in high school ), something shifted. I can’t explain it really because our full history is extensive but basically around 14-ish she started experimenting with drugs. Sadly in San Diego this is not uncommon. A lot of young kids get into drugs very early. We both went to schools where drugs were readily available ( I’ve always been more into tequila though! HA ).
Faye experimented which snowballed into hard core drugs. At 17 she was drinking and doing drugs & prescription pills daily.
At this point I was in college, bartending all night & teaching fitness & going to school all day. My time was jammed packed from the second I got up to the second I fell asleep at 2:30 AM. Non-stop. I didn’t live with her. I noticed things were off but all my family members would make excuses ( which is something SO many of us do- we enable the addict ). Excuses were our thing. To our friends, to each other, to ourselves.
There were so many undeniable moments & days where she was clearly high but we buried it…deep. Too painful. Bury, bury. The problem too was that my sister looked normal. She didn’t look like what people think an addict should look like- no facial scabs or marks. Not strung out. Her eyes were clear. In fact, she looked gorgeous, normal, fresh, pretty, stylish ( don’t believe me? See this post ).
Meanwhile her addiction got worse & worse…& worse.
My dad & stepmom finally kicked her out of the house- they had the last straw with her. While she was high she acted out in a way that was dangerous. Faye went to my grandma’s house. From there it got worse. So bad The Nanz had to kick her out. With my dad, stepmom, brother, other sister, cousins, uncles, & aunts, we staged an intervention with a specialist.
It went HORRIBLE.
Keep in mind this is around the time The Skinny Confidential launched- I threw myself into health, nutrition, & fitness. Perhaps to counteract my sister’s addiction?
After the fail of an intervention, my sister- 20 years old & so beautiful still, was homeless.
Everyone was done with her behavior & we all, as a family, cut her off.
I remember the second I realized it was the only way to save her – to cut her off entirely. I was taking off in a plane- about to travel & I started bawling crying because I knew this was out of my hands. I had no control. She had to want help to receive help.
This may be hard for some of you to understand because you don’t know the lead up, the countless horror stories, the behavior…but let me tell you this: my family cutting her off saved her life. She will tell you the same & she does in the podcast today.
There she was on the street with nowhere to go- with nothing. She called her last friend who so kindly set her up with a woman named Kiyan who represented the Cy Mo Foundation ( a foundation who was created after her son, Cyrus. Cyrus was a very, very good friend of mine who died from a drug overdose at 21 ).
From there Kiyan got Faye into a rehab.
Not a country club rehab. A clean the toilets with your toothbrush, Wonderbread, shut the fuck up with that attitude kind of rehab, in Orange County.
This family pic I posted in 2014 on The Skinny Confidential was actually us visiting her at rehab.
After months of being clean, Faye relapsed while in rehab on heroin.
My family was devastated as you can imagine. I mean it was crushing. She’d been using for years & years & to see my little sister clean was such a relief. Her relapse scared the shit out of us.
The day after the relapse my sister walked miles by herself to a new rehab & never looked back. She’s been four years sober now & sponsors many women in treatment. Faye is in college, engaged, works with Young Living Essential Oils, & lives in Orange County. Best of all- a year ago she found out she was pregnant. About nine months ago she gave birth to my nephew & her son, Daxton Graye. Dax is perfection in every way.
I am so proud of her.
Faye is an example of overcoming demons & creating her life by design. Surely she will have more hurdles but she is now clean & sober.
I’ve said it before & I’ll say it again: behind beauty there is typically struggle.
“HAPPINESS REQUIRES STRUGGLE. THIS IS THE MOST SIMPLE AND BASIC COMPONENT OF LIFE: OUR STRUGGLES DETERMINE OUR SUCCESSES. IF YOU WANT THE BENEFITS OF SOMETHING IN LIFE, YOU HAVE TO ALSO WANT THE COSTS.” – Mark Manson
Ultimately you can’t have a pain-free life— it just doesn’t work that way.
You have to embrace the struggle to get to the destination.
So yes, this week’s podcast is about struggle, addiction, & overcoming adversity. You can listen to the podcast here where we go super in-depth with Faye & Johnny, her fiancé. You should know Johnny’s story is intense & inspiring. He has overcome so much adversity. His story is very, VERY interesting guys. We hope both of their stories can help anyone out there dealing with something similar.
There is so much more to my experience with addiction so if you guys are interested in this topic please let me know & I’ll do more posts like this.
Ok I’m out- so much love to anyone out there who’s familiar with the disease of addiction. I feel you.