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.

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:


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I'm staring at my screen watching the President of the United States speak before a stadium full of people in North Carolina. He launches into a lie-laced attack on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and the crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!"

The President does nothing. Says nothing. He just stands there and waits for the crowd to finish their outburst.

WATCH: Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after he criticizes Rep. Ilhan Omar www.youtube.com

My mind flashes to another President of the United States speaking to a stadium full of people in North Carolina in 2016. A heckler in the crowd—an old man in uniform holding up a TRUMP sign—starts shouting, disrupting the speech. The crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!"

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

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What someone wears, regardless of gender, is a personal choice. Sadly, many folks like Maryann White, mother of four sons, think women's attire — particularly women's leggings are a threat to men.

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