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Los Angeles, California
I am 47 and thriving in Southern California. One day at a time.
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Thursday, December 1, 2011

on stand by

tonight i spoke for the first time at a meeting.

i had to.

it was an na meeting in east hollywood.

small room. big church. giant panic.

i had set this as a goal for myself today. you wouldn't think it would be hard for the self-professed bossy, dramatic, chatterbox of a little red haired girl. well, it's not when she's "on". but she's currently off, broken, less than zero...

but the woman before unraveled in shaky, vulnerable grief, her husband's current waltz with death as he succumbs to liver failure. he needs a liver transplant, and her daughter is a match to give him a part of hers. not a dry eye.

well, you could have nailed my arm to that church wall and it would have flown off, while proclaiming, "i'm henriette and i'm an addict".

i spoke of my rejection, renal failure, dialysis, addiction to pills, overdoses one and two, then told of the miracle that is "the kid". and told her, i have been alive for nearly 24 years because of other people's kidneys. and then in a final, quivering whisper, i gave gratitude for these meetings...

[calm down. no-one drank any kool-aid here...]

i felt utter magic in the hushed room at my attention, the bodies leaning forward, and the warm voices thanking me upon my shaky denouement.

whatever you believe, how can you not believe in a program of support, acceptance and respect.


"i am henriette, and i am an addict." and i am proud i shared.

with this support, i will share again and again, and i will flick that switch "on" again...

and no longer be on stand by...


  1. Telling the truth is very liberating isn't it? And even more rewarding when those who hear you tell it really 'get it' and appreciate your efforts. Effort it is too to do such a brave thing. At least at first. Gets easier the more practice you get at it. Keep flipping that switch. Keep pouring out that unvarnished stuff. Proud of you Hen. xo

  2. Mani couldn't have said it better.
    When life gives us a gift, sometimes we throw it aside looking for something better. But some people have a 'moment', where we get to see what it is really about. And there is power in gratitude. Believe in yourself and this gift that you have been given.
    Always thinking of you, your health, your recovery, your progress...

  3. Suzanne couldn't have said it better.
    So much power in gratitude Hen. Even when we don't want what we're grateful for. You will get more and more gifts as you journey through...love you always and so proud of you for pressing forward and committing to your life and nurturing your soul. You deserve it.