Profiles in Recovery

Jus Franks

Jus Franks (@jus.franks) recently threw out #throwback Thursday and opted for keeping her eyes toward her future. “So its Thursday, and I would do a #throwback but today I’m looking in one direction; FORWARD. With emotional and physical health, with school, work, and my modeling career. Happy to say that I’m moving forward every day and I’m proud of how much I’ve progressed in my life. For today, let’s look toward the amazing future ahead of us.” It’s that amazing perspective that has kept Franks moving forward.

Along her journey Franks discovered, “The relationship with my family is really important, but I think the one I built with myself trumps everything I’ve gotten from recovery.” Franks relies on her daily medication and sponsor call to keep herself accountable. She is inspired by anyone willing to come to Narcotics Anonymous and share their story with an open heart. Franks and a few of her NA group plan on starting a meeting in the West Island of Montreal to share with others a place of guidance and inspiration.

Day Job:
University Student, Plus Size Model

What I lost to addiction:
When I was still using, I lost more than just the money I spent on drugs. I lost a lot of my health, getting sick and gaining a lot of weight in an unhealthy way. I lost respect from my family, friends, and myself. The problem was, during this time of using, the only thing that mattered was having ways and means to get more. What I lost didn’t matter enough to me.

What worked for me:
A friend brought me to my first NA 12 step meeting, and I was hooked from there. I started off being clean from drugs, and two months in I dropped alcohol from my life to keep a sponsor. I continue to go to meetings multiple times a week, doing step work, and talking to a member or my sponsor every day. Through prayer and the power of the meetings, I stay clean and sober.

Best advice for newbies:
Keep trying, keep coming back. Many of us didn’t get it right the first time. You can lose the desire to use and although it won’t be perfect, life will get so much better. Being clean is so much easier because there’s no more lies, no more desperation to have the addiction met day after day.

Advice to my younger self:
I would tell my younger self that it’s okay to ask for help, it doesn’t make you weak, in fact it makes you stronger. That a life without drugs and alcohol will not be boring, and you will be okay without that escape.

Rules I live by:
Under no circumstance is there a situation bad enough that using will make better. Talk to your sponsor every day, even if you are scared to be honest about it. Be honest and open about your defects of character. Be open minded to suggestions and advice from people who have more clean time and experience than you.

What I value most in recovery:
The relationship with my family is really important, but I think the one I built with myself trumps everything I’ve gotten from recovery. I was bullied in high school and then emotionally abused for five years. For so long I just hated myself and had no confidence or love in terms of who I was and how I looked. Through recovery I not only like and respect myself but I found LOVE and self-worth, those are irreplaceable.

Proudest moment:
The day I received my one-year medallion. My best friends, parents, and my sponsor supported me. I felt like I had finally accomplished something good in my life.

Stigma I faced:
I had a hard time with friends at first because they knew me as one thing and I just became another. They slowly started to learn and accept that I’m still the same person I was, just better. Not falling asleep or begging them for money and food or caring more about my needs than theirs.

Rock bottom moment:
I wouldn’t say it was a moment itself, but more a series of moments leading to my demise. I wasn’t doing so well in school anymore and wanted to quit (or at least take a break for a while). I missed my good friend’s 1-year clean date because I was using. I looked in the mirror and knew I need to make a change. When I stopped using drugs, I had a night out drinking, after convincing my mom drinking wasn’t a problem and got crazy sick that night. The next day my sponsor told me I had to stop drinking or she didn’t feel comfortable sponsoring me; and I broke down. I knew I had to make a change.

On my bucket list:
To travel the world (have already done a lot of travelling in recovery!) To work with women who have abuse issues, and to be picked up as a model and advocate for recovery around the world.

Favorite recovery quote:
Personal recovery depends on NA unity (12 Traditions of NA)

When cravings come:
Sometimes I still have issues with cravings, and my initial way to combat it is to start by playing the tape until the end. “If I were to use now, what would I feel? How would it work out for me?” I try to distract myself with more positive things around me. If I’m still having issues I’ll call my sponsor (or another addict), or go to a meeting.

Thoughts on relapse:
I’m lucky enough to have not experienced relapse in the program yet, but we cannot make promises for the future, not even for tomorrow. I believe relapse happens when your program isn’t strong enough, but even if you relapse once a week, the most important thing is to keep trying. I spent years trying before my first meeting; before recovery stuck. I feel as though the only thing you can do is keep trying. We won’t judge you. Be honest with yourself and your fellow addicts. We will be here for you.

At my worst, I was:
I was almost arrested, from multiple jobs, for stealing. At my heaviest, sitting in a hospital room, I was suicidal. On the verge of being kicked out of my house and in an extremely abusive relationship.

On my schedule today:
Like every day, I start with reading the Just For Today daily meditation. I’ll call my sponsor at 6pm (like I do every day), after work I’ll go to my homegroup meeting, which I am chairing this month.

What I learned about myself:
That I’m so much more fun and such a better person clean. That I am worthwhile and deserve love despite the mistakes I’ve made. That I am beautiful, and I am capable of doing anything I set my mind to

How I get through the holidays:
I am Jewish, we are big wine drinkers on the holidays. I am lucky to be pretty much okay during those times, I just buy myself a nonalcoholic wine or a sparkling grape juice which works. On days like St. Patrick’s Day where everyone is wasted; I spend time with other addicts and go to meetings or just do things that don’t allow me to be around that using culture for the day.

I get inspired by:
@soberskirts and @soberrevolution on Instagram, I get inspired by every person new, old, coming back, in that NA room. Just the fact that you have the courage to walk in there and open your heart inspires me daily.

What saves me from me:
Self-awareness saves me every day. Knowing not to go to that specific party, not to hangout alone with that person and to delete the numbers. To know what things trigger cravings or emotions that I have a harder time dealing with myself. Being honest with myself and my sponsor.

On finding purpose:
Purpose is a harder one because I still don’t know my grand purpose on this earth. But I found a lot that I want to do since I got clean. I have goals that are achievable and real since I got clean. Things aren’t so impossible anymore. I’m less lazy, more motivated and determined. It’s all from cutting out the toxic parts of my life.

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If you’re a person in long-term recovery who wants to share your insights, please contact us at [email protected].

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