Profiles in Recovery

Judy Laube

A misdiagnosed back injury triggered Laube’s hellish journey into accidental prescription drug addiction and withdrawal. Taking what the doctors prescribed, she became dependent on benzodiazepines and battled for 11 years to get her health back.

“If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone,” Laube cautions. Today, she’s passionate about raising awareness of prescription drug dangers and notes, “Addiction does not always mean abuse.”

Day Job:
Former teacher and basketball coach; author of “Moment of Surrender: My Journey through Prescription Drug Addiction to Hope and Renewal.”

At my worst, I was:
Completely dysfunctional on all levels. Bedridden with hours of convulsions and a slew of heinous symptoms. I believed I suffered lifelong damage. I lacked attachment to other people, which was difficult on those I (under normal circumstances) loved.

Favorite recovery quote:
“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person that walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about. ~ Haruki Murakami

Rules I live by:
Authenticity and self-love comes before all else. No one event can define me. Everything that has happened to me has brought me to this moment today as a wiser, stronger, more loving version of myself. I want to be a guiding light for others who are on similar paths

What worked for me:
Surrendering: Not giving up — but turning my situation over to God and faith that I would eventually recover. I was a fighter by nature and this principle came very difficult to me. I still had to be the one to do the work and the process continued to be a marathon — not a sprint. The internal battles began to lessen and I found my own strength.

I get inspired by:
People being real. Those who aren’t afraid to be authentic and vulnerable. People who have triumphed and willing to share their stories.

Best advice for newbies:
Self-love and compassion is paramount. If you don’t have it going in you will learn it throughout the process. Learn when to be gentle with yourself and when to push forward. When you are doing the best you can, stop critiquing yourself. If you aren’t, ask yourself why and remove the blocks. The other side does exist. What are you waiting for?

What I learned about myself:
I am not just a survivor but a victor. I realized my strength and ability to persevere. I learned I am much more than a title or role, or any event that can happen to me. I learned that I am worthy of love and respect. I learned finding myself dealt less with adding attributes and more with realizing all I need already exists inside of me. All of this is possible through God.

On finding purpose:
No matter how one arrives at addiction, the walk through recovery is much the same. My zeal is to use my story to help others who have, are or will become addicted to navigate the horrific course to recovery and realize there is a wonderful life waiting on the other side.

Overcoming shame:
Through this struggle, I found myself and I found God . . . I am more internally peaceful and full of self-love and compassion than I have ever been in my life. I am a better me all the way around.

One of key things I needed to do early on is rid myself of the shame and guilt I felt for allowing this to happen. Those feelings kept me stuck in self-abusive evaluation. Instead of turning my anger inward I began using it as energy to fight forward. The magnitude of the physical and emotional pain and the fact that I was extremely hard on myself made for a lengthier road to self-forgiveness.

Follow Laube: pjlaube.com; on Twitter @PjLaube

Shed the Stigma:
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