White Papers Week 4: Defining Recovery Today
Defining Recovery Today
My name is Bryn Gallagher and I am a woman in recovery. Among many things, this means that I have had the privilege of spending the last four and a half years re-aligning myself with the most meaningful parts of my life, without using substances. Before I made my way into recovery, I could show up for certain parts of my life, but rarely was I present and comfortable in my skin. I drank in a way that our culture has unfortunately normalized, especially for high school and college-aged people. I was a blackout drinker from the start and used alcohol as an escape route from my constant discomfort. I held on tightly to people, possessions, and alcohol, convinced they were the only solution to the growing emptiness that I felt.
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Bryn is a native Mainer in long-term recovery. She attends law school at the University of Maine School of Law where she is currently representing low-income Mainers as a Student Attorney. Bryn has interned with the State of Maine's Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services; the Association of Recovery in Higher Education; and Maine Youth Court, a diversion-based restorative justice initiative serving youth in southern and midcoast Maine. The past four years of recovery-related work have given Bryn the opportunity to replenish relationships with loved ones and to harness her passion for helping others. Additionally, Bryn has gained a clearer understanding of her present role in her community: to use her life-experience as an asset and catalyst for widespread and positive change. Bryn is thrilled to have contributed her paper to this body of work.