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Behind The Mask: Stephanie F.

By Stephanie Forrester.- Peer Advocate at Huther Doyle

Hi! My name is Stephanie and I am in recovery from Substance Use Disorder. I am also proudly a Peer Advocate working for Huther Doyle.

I think one of the most amazing things I have learned on my recovery journey has been the ability to ask myself, no matter the situation, “What can I learn from this, how can this help me grow?”

Four years ago, this was not my thought process. Four years ago, I was hopelessly trapped in my cycle of active addiction. I was isolated from my family. I am sharing this with you because, on my journey to finding recovery, I picked up many tools that taught me how to face my emotions and thoughts in a productive manner.

Right now, the world is facing another pandemic, COVID-19. It is very similar to the drug epidemic. We are isolated to protect others. Something we do in active addiction. Something that, if we let it, can cause us to relapse if we don’t utilize our tools.

My mindset now, and the tools I have learned along my journey to recovery, help me overcome my fears, help keep me connected and I would like to share with you what is helping me and what I am learning from this current situation we are facing.

I have learned how important it is to have a support system in place. People you can reach out to and communicate your feelings to. Communication is not my strong suit at all. It is something I am constantly working on and learning how to improve. Journaling helps me communicate and keep myself accountable for processing my feelings. My question to you is…who are the three people in your own support system? Write them down and remind yourself they are there for you!

Sticking to a routine is another thing that has helped me immensely! Trying to juggle work, homeschooling, and focusing on my mental health and my recovery is challenging! Keeping a schedule has really helped my children and I stay focused. Making a list of things to do has kept me grounded during this time. But remember not to be too hard on yourself if you don’t get everything crossed off your list for the day…you have tomorrow too!!

Last, but not least, make sure you are taking care of your mental health!! Mental Health, like Substance Use Disorder, has a stigma attached to it. It took me a long time to admit I needed help in this area, too. Why, though?! Why did I struggle with this? The truth is, I, like many others, gave the word stigma, power over me. When I chose to start using my voice, I realized how similar my own struggles were to others. It connected us. I helped break the stigma. I took my power back when I was able to see the strength that it took me to be able to reach out for help!!

I now know that it is okay to NOT be okay. I am going to have good and bad days. We all are. It is just a part of life, but what I choose to learn from these lessons, good or bad, is what matters. How I choose to react is what is important. Acknowledging the strength that it takes to reach out for help can literally save your life!! Huther Doyle’s motto is…Where hope lives, healing begins, and EVERYTHING is possible. So, if you are ready to take that first step and acknowledge your own personal strength, then pick up the phone and call us!! The possibilities are endless after that!!

If you or a loved one are struggling, take that first step and reach out by calling (585) 325-5100 or email us at



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