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Janelle Hanchett Author of “I’m Just Happy to be Here”
“At 21, Janelle Hanchett embraced motherhood with the reckless self-confidence of those who have no idea what they’re getting into. Having known her child’s father for only three months, she found herself rather suddenly getting to know a newborn, husband, and wholly transformed identity. She was in love, but she was bored, directionless, and seeking too much relief in too much wine.
Over time, as she searched for home in suburbia and settled life, a precarious drinking habit turned into treacherous dependence, until life became car seats and splitting hangovers, cubicles and multi-day drug binges–and finally, an inconceivable separation from her children. For ten years, Hanchett grappled with the relentless progression of addiction, bouncing from rehabs to therapists to the occasional hippie cleansing ritual on her quest for sobriety, before finding it in a way she never expected.
This is a story we rarely hear–of the addict mother not redeemed by her children; who longs for normalcy but cannot maintain it; and who, having traveled to the bottom of addiction, all the way to “society’s hated mother,” makes it back, only to discover she will always remain an outsider.
Like her irreverent, hilarious, and unflinchingly honest blog, “Renegade Mothering,” Hanchett’s memoir speaks with warmth and wit to those who feel like outsiders in parenthood and life–calling out the rhetoric surrounding “the sanctity of motherhood” as tired and empty, boldly recounting instead how one grows to accept an imperfect self within an imperfect life–thinking, with great and final relief, “Well, I’ll be damned, I’m just happy to be here.”
Janelle is the author of “I’m Just Happy to Be Here”. She called it that because she has been sober for 10 years and she has 4 kids. When she got into recovery and had personal responsibilities to take care of her family or her marriage or her job and would think to herself, “Well I’m Just Happy to be here”. Janelle believes that is one of the stages of gratitude that a addict or alcoholic in recovery goes through. Janelle says that he was never destined to be sober once she started using she never thought she would be able to stop, and she feels like now everything is a very smooth sailing and she is just happy to be where she is at right now in her life through recovery from addiction. Janelle acquired a life that she never thought possible.
Janelle got back together with her husband and her kids after being a part for 2 years. She soon got pregnant and had another kid on the way. She was a parent, a student and worked a job 30 hours a week. She explained it as “Just going through her life”. Janelle says from obvious reasons when she started to use she stopped writing. When she got sober she explained it as words started coming back to her and she really wanted to write a sort of alternative story of motherhood that she couldn’t find anywhere. She wanted to bring together her history, her present devotion of motherhood, her joy of being there. Janelle says she parenting came with his immense gratitude paired with a feeling of not being enough and not being fulfilled with motherhood and she couldn’t find her story anywhere or anything she would want to read. She started writing a blog hoping other mothers would read it and feel the same way she felt.
Janelle says she started out not writing about addiction, but she started writing about motherhood. She writes a very irreverent parenting blog called Renegade Mothering. Janelle says that’s he really feels like she woke up in motherhood. Her blog has about 80,000 social media followers and about 150,000 hits a month. She has also written a couple viral posts that have seen by about 3 million people.
Janelle went to 4 different treatment centres and has ben to mental institutions, but what worked for her is going to a 12-step fellowship that she has gone to for years and she is able to stay clean and sober from addiction. Janelle says she did not expect to find recovery.
Richmond Addiction Services Society Upcoming Events
Richmond Addiction Services Society is on the show this week they provide addiction services through 3 programs one of them is a prevention program where they have prevention specialists and prevention workers working within the school district creating awareness about addiction by bringing in guest speakers and putting on events that focus on recovery from addiction and wellness. The idea is that people who struggle with addiction know where to go when they are struggling and might need treatment. They also have a youth and family program that focuses on counselling and support services for youth who are under 24 and their families. Included in that is their constructive alternative to teen suspension program which is a program that they work with the school district to ensure that there is a consistent response to dealing with youth who are struggling with addiction and maybe using drugs at school or on school breaks. Their final program is their aging well program which serves seniors who are over 55 who need outreach services who need services to come with them because of various barriers that may get in the way. All programs are for addiction. Richmond does not have a “strip” where there are using addicts on the street but there is definitely pockets and a wide spread of homeless people in Richmond if that is behind a liquor store or under a bridge.
Richmond Addiction Services fills out referrals for individuals looking to access treatment services when someone is struggling with addiction. They send them to various addiction service providers for residential treatment when someone is in need. Richmond Addiction Services has some events coming up. Swing for Recovery is on May 4th and it is their inaugural slow pitch tournament and a wellness fair and it is to raise awareness for addiction recovery, it is an opportunity for their recovery coaches to mentor and inspire others that being in recovery and having fun is possible.
Richmond Addiction Services has been a proud supporter of the Richmond community since 1975 and we intend to continue to provide support, education and services for the years to come. However, it is apparent that in today’s economic reality, we need to look to the community and its businesses to support us. We are proud to list our donors on our website to acknowledge our collaborative and close relationship to these individuals and organizations. If for any reason you do not wish to have your organization recognized on our website please don’t hesitate to call the Executive Director.
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Talk Recovery airs live every Thursday at noon on 100.5 FM, Vancouver Coop Radio. Last Door produces a weekly radio show having having conversations about the many pathways to addiction recovery. To end stigma we must continue to talk about recovery. Each week addiction recovery experts from around the world join us for an hour. Talk Recovery is in its 6th Season, thank you to all our weekly listeners and guests. Show ideas? email [email protected]
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