by Janice Ferebee, MSW
“Recovery is For Everyone: Every Person, Every Family, Every Community!"
Isolation, self-loathing, and feelings of failure become an addict’s overcoat. Back in the day, I wanted to be a heart surgeon. I started my college journey at Johns Hopkins as a Pre-Med major, following in the footsteps of my great-aunt, Dr. Dorothy Boulding Ferebee. She was a pioneering Black female physician.
A little over 31 years ago I was helpless, homeless, hopeless, and in the throes of my addiction to drugs and alcohol; completely out of control and out of options. I had become a thief, a liar, and someone I no longer recognized, nor did my family and friends. It got to the point that my mother told me to, “Stop calling her because I was killing her.” I was at my lowest when I was arrested, AGAIN, and spent the night on a jail cell floor in the Tombs in lower Manhattan. I had, what I now know as a spiritual awakening, which led me to finally ask for help.
After having to move to Maryland for treatment and then live in two Oxford Houses (which are sober living residences), I finally found my way to recovery and becoming a productive member of society, once again. I can tell you, without hesitation – BLACK WOMEN DO RECOVER! But during the pandemic, there has been an increase in Black women and girls turning to drugs and alcohol – one of the worst ways to cope during these stressful times. I am a walking miracle that there is another way – EVEN DURING COVID!
It's never too late, not even during challenging times, to become a better version of yourself! I thought my addiction had ruined my life (it did for a while) and I would never be able to get back on track or forgive myself for my past. I have made peace and feel blessed with where the road has taken me, much of it due to putting down that drink and drug.
If you or someone you know is having a tough time dealing with life’s challenges, including COVID-19, and drugs and alcohol have become your go-to coping strategy, there is help. REMEMBER | YOU ARE WORTH IT! REACH OUT TO A TRUSTED PERSON IN YOUR LIFE AND TAKE THE FIRST STEP! It worked for me . . . it can work for you! I am a two-time cancer survivor blessed with a loving family and cherished friends, and I work on my recovery every day – can’t get any better than that!
Janice is an author, consultant, speaker, retired nonprofit professional and social worker (doing a different type of "work on the heart"), first African American Models Editor for SEVENTEEN Magazine, founder & Chief Woman Warrior of Ferebee Enterprises International, LLC, host of a new podcast | SANKOFA KONVERSATIONS, and creator of the award-winning Got It Goin’ On® Empowerment Brand and Program for Girls, recognized by The Oprah Winfrey Show & ESSENCE Magazine. She is a two-time cancer survivor blessed with over 31 years in long-term recovery from drug & alcohol abuse. Janice is also a former DC Elected Official, a former docent at the historic Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture, and a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.