This popular mom vlogger is a drug addict. That matters.

In high school, Tiffany Jenkins was cheerleading captain and student body president. Then she became a drug addict.

As a popular student with good grades, Jenkins was hardly the girl people would vote "most likely to end up strung out on the floor of a jail cell." But that's where she ended up in 2012, at the low point of her opioid addiction.

Now five years sober, the mother of three has a popular blog, Juggling the Jenkins, where she blends mom humor with stories of addiction recovery. The unlikely combo has helped her gather more than a million Facebook followers in less than a year.


This former opioid addict never dreamed she would become a viral Facebook sensation and inspire othersThis hilarious mom vlogger hopes to use her platform to inspire those battling addiction that there is a life after drugs. https://bit.ly/2HP4e8l
Posted by Circa on Thursday, May 3, 2018

In this video from Circa, Jenkins explains how she uses her humor videos to draw people in. "They're like, 'Oh my gosh, I love this girl, she's so funny,' and then they get to my page and find out that I'm a drug addict, and they're like, 'Whoa, wait a minute. This is not what I think of when I think of drug addicts.'"

She uses her platform to share her story as well as stories of recovery and hope from others.

Jenkins started drug rehab after a 120-day jail stint, inspired by her father who had recently entered rehab for alcoholism. Then she got pregnant.

"I had been clean for 10 months and living in a halfway house when I got pregnant with my son," she says. "I already had a good foundation of recovery, but knowing that a little human was growing inside me and would depend on me from now until forever gave me a motivation and determination I didn't know I had to keep going."

Now, her three kids keep her focused on the life she wants to live — one that isn't ruled by drugs or alcohol.

"My children, their laughs, their tantrums, their sleepy morning eyes — I just have so much gratitude in my heart," she says. "I was given a second chance at life, and my children are a constant (oftentimes noisy) reminder."

Jenkins' willingness to share her story has inspired thousands. And she's opened her platform for others to share their own recovery stories. "If more people shared their truth — even the ugly parts," she says, "so many more people would realize they aren't alone, and the shame and guilt they have been carrying does not have to be carried alone."

I'm gonna be honest with you, man... I'm tired.Not in a sleepy way; in an "I feel paper thin, because I'm being...
Posted by Juggling The Jenkins Blog on Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Jenkins puts a fresh face on drug addiction recovery — and offers a refreshing perspective on what it means to be an addict.

I met Jenkins recently at the Mom 2.0 Summit conference, where we ended up at the same dinner table. Her humor flowed from her effortlessly (she really is incredibly funny), but it was her nonchalant openness about being a recovering drug addict that was compelling.

And that's really the whole point of her blog: Addiction doesn't have a stereotype.

According to the Center on Addiction, addiction and substance abuse affect more Americans than heart conditions, diabetes, or cancer. If 40 million Americans ages 12 and older have substance problems, there's a very good chance we all know an addict.

And for those who are dealing with a loved one's addiction, hearing from people who have successfully made it to the other side can feel like a vital lifeline.

What she wants people to know about addiction is real, honest, and heartfelt.

"There is a lot of anger and hatred toward addicts," says Jenkins, "and to be honest, it's completely understandable. Addiction makes us do terrible things. It turns us into liars, thieves, manipulators, and criminals. The thing is, not one single one of us raised our hand on career day and said 'I want to be an addict.' This was never part of the plan."

Jenkins says that sympathy and coddling don't help addicts recover. She explains: "What we need is love, emotional support, and empathy. Many addicts never come forward with the truth of their situation — a crucial step in getting help for themselves — for fear of ridicule, hatred, and loss of familial relationships. We have to break the stigma and create an open, productive dialog. Because there is no such thing as a lost cause. Anyone currently in the midst of addiction absolutely can get clean and have a wonderful life — but they can't do it alone."

Thanks to Jenkins and people who share their stories on her site, more people with addiction will know they're not alone.

You can read stories of addiction recovery on Jenkins' Recovering Beautifully blog. If you or someone you know are struggling with substance abuse, call (800) 662-HELP (4357) or check out addiction recovery resources at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Correction 7/30/2018: This story was updated to reflect Jenkins is a mom raising three kids.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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2020 was difficult (to say the least). The year was full of life changes, losses, and lessons as we learned to navigate the "new normal." You may have questions about what the changes and challenges of 2020 mean for your taxes. That's where TurboTax Live comes in, making it easy to connect with real tax experts to help with your taxes – or even do them for you, start to finish.

Not only has TurboTax Live helped millions of people get their taxes done right, but this year they've also celebrated people who uplifted their communities during a difficult time by surprising them with "little lifts" to help out even more.

Here are a few of their stories:


Julz, hairdresser and salon owner

"As a hairdresser and salon owner, 2020 was extremely challenging," says Julz. "Being a hairdresser has historically been a recession-proof industry, but we've never faced global shut down due to health risk, or pandemic, not in my lifetime. And for the first time, hairdressers didn't have job security."

Julz had to shut down her salon and go on unemployment benefits for the first time. She also had to figure out how she was going to support herself, her staff and her business during this difficult time. But many other beauty industry professionals didn't have access to the resources they needed, so Julz decided to help.

"My business partner and I began teaching basic financial literacy to other beauty industry professionals," she says. "Transitioning our business from behind the chair to an online academy was a challenge we tackled head-on so that we could move hairdressers into this new space of education, and create a more accessible curriculum to better serve our industry.

Julz connected with a TurboTax Live expert who helped her understand how unemployment affected her taxes and gave her guidance on filing quarterly estimated taxes for her small business. "I was terrified to sit at a computer and tackle this mess of receipts," Julz says, so "it was great to have some virtual handholding to walk me through each question."

In addition to giving Julz the personalized tax advice she needed, TurboTax Live surprised her with a "little lift" that empowered her to help even more beauty professionals. "When my tax expert Diana surprised me with a little lift, I was moved to tears," says Julz. "With that little lift, I was able to establish a scholarship fund to help get other hairdressers the education they deserve."


Alana, new mom

Alana welcomed her first child in 2020. "I think my biggest challenge was figuring out how to be a mom, with no guidance," she says. "My original plan was to have my mom by my side, teaching me the ropes, but because of COVID, she wasn't able to come out here."

She was also without a job for most of 2020 and struggled to find something new.

So, Alana took it as a sign: she decided to launch her own business so she could support her new baby, and that's exactly what she did. She started a feel-good company that specializes in creating affirmation card decks — and she's currently in the process of starting a second, video-editing business.

TurboTax Live answered Alana's questions about her taxes and gave her some much-needed advice as she prepared to launch her businesses. Thanks to their "little lift," they provided her with a little emotional support too.

"I got my mom a plane ticket to finally [have her] meet [my daughter] for her first birthday," Alana says. "I was also able to get a new computer," which helped her invest in her new business and work on her video editing skills. "It's helped my family and me so much," she says.


Michael, science teacher

When schools shut down across the country last year, Michael had to learn how to adapt to a virtual classroom.

"As a teacher, I had to completely revamp everything," he says, so that he could keep his students engaged while teaching online. "At the beginning, it was a nightmare because I had no idea. I had to go from A-Z within a couple of weeks."

Michael's TurboTax Live expert answered his questions about how working from home affected his taxes and helped him uncover surprising tax deductions. To top it all off, his expert surprised him with brand new science equipment and supplies, which allowed him to create an entire line of classes on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. "Now I can truly potentially reach millions of children with my lessons," he says. "I would never have taken that leap if not for the little lift from TurboTax Live."



Ricky, motivational youth speaker

As a motivational speaker, Ricky was used to doing his job in person, but, he says, "when COVID-19 hit, it altered my ability to travel and visit schools in person [because] schools moved to fully virtual or hybrid models."

He knew he had to pivot — so he began offering small virtual group workshops for student leadership groups at middle and high schools.

"This allowed me to work with student leaders to plan how they would continue making a positive impact on their school community," he says. He wasn't sure how being remote would affect his taxes, but TurboTax Live Self-Employed gave him the advice and answers that he needed to keep more money in his pocket at tax time — and the little lift he received from them has helped him serve even more students.

"[It] has been a major blessing," he says "There will be multiple schools and student groups from across the country that I can hold leadership workshops with to empower them with the tools to be inspirational leaders in their school, community, and world."

Plus, he says, it was great knowing he had an expert to help him figure out how being remote affected his taxes. "I felt confident and assured in the process of filing my taxes knowing I had an expert working with me, says Ricky. "There were things my expert knew that I would not have considered when filing on my own."

Filing your taxes doesn't have to be intimidating, especially after a year like 2020. TurboTax Live experts can give you the "little lift" you need to get your taxes done. File with the help of an expert or let an expert file for you! Go to TurboTax Live to get started.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less