The number of people who suffer from addiction is increasing. Sadly with addiction comes loss, that includes losing family members who turn their back on those who are addicted and of course also includes the loss of life. One man who knows what it is like to be addicted to drugs is JR Weaver, an army veteran.
JR Weaver has gone through a rollercoaster ride with drug addiction. He has experienced first-hand what it is like to be addicted. The Army veteran bravely decided enough was enough and he wanted to sort his life out and break free from his addiction. So, from his prison cell after falling from grace he started to write his book The Addiction Manifesto.
The Addiction Manifesto is a powerful book that anyone who is addicted to drugs should read. For those who have family members or loved ones that are addicted, this book should be given to them as a way of helping them to overcome the negative obstacles in their life and break free.
I decided to sit down with JR Weaver and learn more about his addiction and the reasons why he wrote the book. This is what he had to say.
First of all please introduce yourself? Hi, I’m JR Weaver, author of The Addiction Manifesto, Glad to be here to share part of my story and it’s a helluva comeback story.
You are an army veteran; can I ask where you served and how long you were in the army for? Yes, I served from 1987 to 1995, my 1st duty station was Berlin, East Germany, I believe I was still 17 at the time, surrounded by a giant wall and communist soldiers, outnumbered & outgunned but never outmanned.
You have just released a book called The Addiction Manifesto, why did you decide to do that? Couple of reasons, writing about addiction keeps me sober, it helps keep the memories of what my life used to be like fresh in my mind, and that’s a big motivator to never pick up a drink or a drug ever again.
What is the book about, and who is it aimed at? It’s about my personal journey towards sobriety and the challenges that I had to face, I started writing about 2 months into my sobriety, in jail while facing 4 felony burglary charges. This was my rock bottom, the moment when I could no longer deny that I had a real problem with drugs. I had started writing while locked up, I had to break down what my addiction was doing to me, and I started seeing the patterns that kept me a prisoner to it. I spent the next 90 days filling up page after page, and I could not believe the transformation it had made in me. That time in jail was a blessing for me because it changed me, without it I do not know if I would still be here.
How will your book help people who are struggling with addiction, and is this book for everyone or just those with a military background? It’s aimed at all newcomers in recovery, (anyone with less than a year sobriety), and it can also help family members have a better understanding of the addiction mindset. Newcomers will find that it’ll help them break down there own addictions and the addictive mind traps that often cause people to relapse, My philosophy is really a combination of several recovery programs, from AA, CBT, RBT, SMART, Mindfulness, Celebrate Recovery to get them sober and then pushing them towards a ‘whole life recovery’ goal. It’s more than just being sober; I’ve crossed paths with plenty of people that were sober but angry at life because they settled and didn’t pursue life.
You have been very honest in your book about your journey with substance abuse, was that important to you? It’s about being open, honest and transparent, because our minds are wired differently and if I start taking shortcuts then the system starts to break down.
You were addicted to drugs for 20-years, how did you get hooked? I started drinking heavily during my army days, and when I got out for college I didn’t really fit back in to ‘real life.’ I felt out of place, and I needed alcohol to feel ‘normal.’ Fast forward a few years and the alcohol wasn’t having the same effect so we started experimenting with drugs.
When did you realise that you were addicted to drugs and needed help? Addiction is cunning, baffling and powerful, it blinded me to the truth about my problem and let me believe that I was still in control, it was when I wanted to quit and couldn’t, that’s when I started thinking that I ‘might’ have a problem. They say that ‘addiction is giving up everything for one thing, and recovery is giving up one thing for everything.’
Did it help with your recovery to look at why you got addicted? Yes, the more I learned on ‘why I did what I did’ the better because it allows me to start breaking it down and figuring out the reasons why and take the necessary steps to prevent it from happening again.
Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston, Heath Ledger, and Philip Seymour Hoffman are some of the big names who died from their addiction, so what is the secret to you overcoming your addiction and not losing your life? I believe its harder for celebrities to get sober because they are constantly in the spotlight and for me it was about being ‘sick & tired of being sick & tired.’ Plus, I was absolutely miserable out there, I had such a conflict going on inside my head that I couldn’t find any type of escape from my problems, I was faced with really only 3 options, prison, death or get sober. I chose sobriety, I’ll be celebrating my 4th year sober on 11-10-21.
What would you say is the first step to recovery? Easy one, let me state for the record that this is my opinion only, but I believe it has to be abstinence. I know my AA friends just are screaming “HIGHER POWER”, but I do think we need to take the drugs/alcohol out of their system before we can do any type of recovery building.
What response have you received by those who have read your book? I was riding in a car with another vet and he mentioned he was in treatment so I told him to ask his counsellor for a book called The Addiction Manifesto, would you believe that he pulled the book out of his bag and handed it to me, I flipped it over to show him the my picture on the back, and his face lit up when he saw it was me. Another vet that was a participant in our Veteran’s Treatment Court was telling me that he just read a book that was written by a guy with the same name as me. It’s moments like these that really make me feel grateful that I was able to write something that made somebody feel like they could bounce back. They will forget what you say but they will never forget how you made them feel. That’s the goal of my writing to let them know it is ok to not be ok, we all struggle, some of us refuse to quit.
What response do you hope to achieve by someone who has read your book who is addicted to drugs and is suffering from substance abuse? I’d love to see them get their life back under control, I’d really like to see them reunite with their family and kids. My reward will be a few years down the road when some stranger stops me in the street and introduces his new family to me. Until then I’ll keep planting these recovery seeds to whoever might need to hear it.
What made you decide that you wanted to seek help and overcome your addiction? Because I was becoming a danger to myself and others, when you don’t value your own life then things really start getting crazy and I really hated who I had become, my addiction really had broken me down to the point to where I didn’t care if I lived or died anymore. I took the chance to ask for help from our local VA Hospital and got into treatment. It really helped me to clear my mind.
Thank you! I really enjoyed this interview. I know recovery isn’t the best topic to write about but it’s a critical topic that we need to put on the docket because the numbers don’t lie, we are losing this war on addiction. Each overdose is somebody’s son or daughter, and we are only kidding ourselves if we don’t think that addiction isn’t a family disease, one person may be addicted but the whole family suffers.
To purchase Addiction Manifesto, please visit https://www.amazon.com/Addiction-Manifesto-Weaver-Jr/dp/1638377634/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=
Company Name: JR Weaver
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Country: United States