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What do you hope to accomplish by being a part of this contest?

I hope to shed light, bring awareness to this problem as part of a problem for our community, and our society at large.  It is not just an isolated problem in no-where America, it is happening in our neighborhoods.


People still seem to hold on to the stereotype that an addict is someone poor and wasting away in life, only thinking about another fix. How is that different then your experience?


I have not experienced this problem first hand, but I am aware of what I see and hear in the news and through reliable news resources.  I think that stereo type has been broken because everyone is exposed to this issue as a problem that needs attention now.   This is not something that can go unresolved.


Do you think there is such a thing as recreational opioid use? Why or Why Not?   NO definitely NO…. some drugs are very addictive to the body and I believe it is true of Opioids, that’s why it is so easy to get hooked.


What is some of the stigma you have experienced around opioid use or overdoes?

Probably that it is an isolated problem in poor neighborhoods, where there is little opportunity.


How do you think the opioid epidemic has affected you personally? Friends? Families? Our Community?

Like I said, I do not have first hand experience with this.  But While at RSR I hear many moving heart-breaking stories of people effected by close friends and family overdosing and having major negative shifts in their lives that keep them on a downward spiral.  Very devastating for all.  


 Can you tell me about one or two people who have had a big influence on your life?

My husband for one, because he loves supports and accepts me through all different challenges of my life.  Prem Rawat, my teacher/life coach, who taught me a long time ago, how to quiet my mind and find peace within myself and more importantly to understand the need for fulfillment in one’s life.


What advice would you give your teenage self?

Be patient, learn from people with more experience than me.  See out people and activities that inspire me in my personal growth in life. 


Are there any positive moments from your life that shaped you into who you are today? Any negative events that shaped you?

Well the expression, what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger comes to mind.  I had a very tough first marriage in my mid-20s, that helped me learn about boundaries and making a commitment to myself first in life.  To know myself and not compromise my happiness no matter what is happening outside of me or in my life.


What are you most grateful for?

I think gratitude is something I need to cultivate every day.  I think its really good to be grateful each day for everything we have, and not take this life for granted. Because you never know how long we will be here on this earth.


How is your life different than how you imagined it when you were younger? I never really imagined my life in any particular way.  I think as a child as probably all children, it is just a natural state to be present, in the moment, enjoying life as it comes.  I never made any plans, I just went with the flow of life.  


Thinking about your family, now and many generations from now, knowing they may read this interview… is there anything you want to say to them? Advice or wisdom you would like to share? Well like my sentiment regarding the previous question, I think it is really important to set some goals early in life if you are inspired to do so.   Usually I think it takes a good parent or mentor to direct a child on a path that is exciting for them… I think children should be exposed to as many possibilities as possible so that they know what is interesting and exciting for them – something for them to pursue.    This is probably really key to growing up  in an optimally healthy emotional and psychological environment.


What are you most proud of in your life?

I think I am most proud of how I conduct myself in life, I am an open minded, kind person, that genuinely likes people.  My parents instilled in me the pursuit of life-long learning.    I am proud of how I raised my daughter – in that we had a very open communication throughout her formative years.  She knew she could have an open dialogue with me anytime.   She is a parent now, and I think she has that same openness with her children.


What does music mean to you?

Music is a universal language, in that every culture has their own expression of music.   I wish I knew more about the music of different cultures.  For me music is a wonderful expression of how I am feeling.   Music comes from the human soul, this big human pot of experience and emotion and inspiration.   It is from a realm like any other creative expression.   Everyone has it…and it is important to experience throughout one’s lifetime.


If you are in recovery, what helps you to stay clean? What helped make your decision to get sober?

I am glad I did not have to contend with this problem.  But again, it is vitally important to have a support network for this kind of devastation.  And of course, many, many people are being helped.

If you could say one thing to someone who died from an opioid overdose, what would it be?

I would say, we all have pain, sometimes pain that feels too devastating to handle.  That is why it immensely important for people to have others in their life that they can trust and get the love and support needed to find their way out of this horror.   I don’t think taking one’s life is the answer.   But when you are way down it may feel like the only solution.  It is if vital important to get help before it is too late, I think addiction should be treated like a disease, like any life threatening disease.   We all need help, love and support to live a sustainable, fulfilling life.


What advice would you give to someone struggling with opioid addiction? Very much like the previous answer.   People suffering from this disease need to be validated, their pain and problems need to be validated.     Seek a network of loving, caring professional people that understand exactly what you are going through.


What do you think the solution is to the opioid epidemic? Bring awareness to the problem and treat it as a disease.  Not just a section of the population that is down and out, because of socio-economics.  IT could happen in any family.  



Is there anything else you would like to add? Just that I am honored to be part of this campaign to bring awareness to this problem that can affect anyone from any walk of life.   I believe that the President has now mandated more regulation of opioid prescription.  That’s a good start.   Thank you.

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