The Reality of Substance Abuse – Jay Shifman

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I live by one mantra: Choose Your Struggle. For much of my early life, I was told that I was living with a debilitating issue of Mental Health. As my condition worsened, I was prescribed more drugs at ever higher doses until, in my early 20s, I was daily taking more than the estimated lethal dosage for multiple drugs and living with a full-blown Addiction to prescription pills. At 23, after two suicide attempts, an overdose, and time spent in an inpatient hospital and a rehab facility, I decided enough was enough and pledged myself to withdraw from all of my prescriptions. Over the next few years, many of my symptoms dissipated. After entering recovery and rebuilding my life, I pledged myself to one mission: choosing my struggle. In a world where many don’t get the first chance, I realized just how lucky I was to get my second. I decided to dedicate my life to making a difference around the topics of Mental Health and Substance Misuse & Recovery. After years of having my struggle chosen for me—to simply make it through the day—I finally chose what to struggle for. Along the way, I have served in a variety of roles aimed at bettering the communities I’ve lived in. A graduate of Northern Kentucky University with a B.A. in Psychology, I strive every day to end the stigma around the topics of Mental Health and Addiction by telling my story and helping others tell theirs. I have certifications in Psychological First Aid, Drug Policy, and the Social Contexts of Mental Health and Illnesses, Suicide Prevention, and Coaching, among others. You can learn more about my experience by visiting my links below and you can find my podcast, Choose Your Struggle, anywhere you get your podcasts.
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