“Truth takes courage.” A sobering account of overcoming addiction
Desiree-Anne Martin was hooked on words long before she turned to drugs. An avid reader, she also journaled her every thought and experience. Martin detailed her pain, fears, the difficult childhood that devolved into a conflicted youth, and her rapid spiral to becoming a heroin addict. But she never shared these with a soul. “In so many communities, there’s this rule of sweeping things under the carpet and not talking about what’s going on,” Martin explains. For many tumultuous years, she tried to hide her demons, rather than speak out and get help. Until Martin realised that the stronghold of society’s stigma can be as damaging as addiction itself. So she used her words to break free.
The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. In rehab, Martin began to open up. “I felt a huge weight lifted from me with each word that I shared,” she says. Even then, the stigma of identifying as an addict persisted outside of therapy, and Martin hesitated to speak openly about her journey. After 14 years of being clean, Martin decided to publish her autobiography, We Don’t Talk About It. Ever. She likened the book to opening a can of worms – messy and difficult to contain. But the powerful impact surpasses the process. “After releasing my story about addiction and mental health issues, I discovered that I was not alone,” Martin says. No one is. Her frank approach to addiction is providing insight to active addicts, people in recovery, and their supporters.
“I hope that the book has become more than just an outlet for me, but a beacon of hope for others,” she says. Between harrowing accounts of her addiction are moments of joy and tenderness, as well as Martin’s unexpectedly wicked humour. “Speaking your truth takes courage but it brings an unbelievable sense of freedom,” she says. Having reached rock bottom multiple times, Martin knows firsthand that reaching out can be the difference between life and death. “Being honest with ourselves and others could be the secret to saving lives,” she says.