More

Her story of addiction is pretty common, but her recovery depended on how she told that story.

There are two stories of Jo's addiction. Only one is actually helpful.

Her story of addiction is pretty common, but her recovery depended on how she told that story.

Jo Harvey used to tell her story of addiction in a dark and messy way.

It started when Jo was 7. On a hiking trip, she was given her first drink. She liked the taste, and by the time she was 12, she had experimented with more alcohol and other drugs. In high school, she was introduced to cocaine. She became a party girl, one who didn't remember most wild nights and spiraled into a deep addiction to drugs and alcohol.

Eventually, she gave up the drugs and went in for treatment. In the years since, Jo not only has been sober, but she's dedicated her life to helping others through similar struggles. Today, Jo is completing a doctorate while working to develop alcohol and drug abuse prevention programs for her university.


Now she tells her story as the story of a struggle that saved her.

The difference between those two stories isn't in the facts of her life — those didn't change. But how she tells the story now is radically different because it is no longer dripping with guilt and shame. Jo used to be ashamed that she wasn't the perfect all-American girl that her good grades and pretty appearance led people to believe. She was ashamed that she had succumbed to addiction and that she was struggling with substance abuse. And that guilt and shame shaped how she lived her life.

Why did Jo carry so much guilt and shame around her addiction? Well one factor may have been her gender.

Laura Blum, Nancy Nielsen, and Joseph Riggs prepared a review for the American Medical Association's Council on Scientific Affairs. In it, they describe the societal attitudes about alcoholism and women as well as their unique barriers to treatment.

  • Women who drink excessively are stigmatized as "generally and sexually immoral." That stigma can be internalized by friends, family, health care providers, and even women themselves, who become more likely to deny their alcohol abuse.
  • This leads to an "under-recognition of drinking problems in women until they have reached an advanced stage. Fear of stigmatization may lead women to deny that they are suffering from a medical condition, to hide their drinking, and to drink alone."

GIF via TEDx.

Jo now believes that the key to recovery comes down to the stories we tell.

In order to heal, she had to shake the shame, stigma, and fear to come out on the other side and share her true story: one of hurt and pain, sure, but also of healing and strength. Today, she has this to say about people who are struggling with addiction:

"They matter and are worth fighting for. Even the deepest wounds can heal, and at any moment we can let go of our shame and find peace."

Watch Jo share her empowering story in her own words:


Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

True

The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Image is a representation of the grandfather, not the anonymous subject of the story.

Eight years a go, a grandfather in Michigan wrote a powerful letter to his daughter after she kicked out her son out of the house for being gay. It's so perfectly written that it crops up on social media every so often.

The letter is beautiful because it's written by a man who may not be with the times, but his heart is in the right place.

It first appeared on the Facebook page FCKH8 and a representative told Gawker that the letter was given to them by Chad, the 16-year-old boy referenced in the letter.

Keep Reading Show less
True

When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."