by Tim Alexander
Five days a week I’ve been training for the 43rd Marine Corps Marathon, my first ever. I chose to fundraise as a St. Jude’s Hero for the marathon yet I wanted to find a way to honor our loved ones lost to addiction after an amazing individual I met in recovery, Sean S., who died from overdose.
I thought about all the amazing people I’ve met on my journey who’ve lost their lives to to Substance Use Disorder (SUD). So I decided to make a shirt to honor them! It was in these moments I wondered how many others would like to do the same so I reached out and was amazed at the response.
This is how Addiction UnMasked was born.
People wanted their own shirts so that the world could see the reality of our pain and the number of lives lost just in my circles and connections–over 1,250 names. As a visual representation, it’s overwhelming to see and sends a message.
Seventy percent of the proceeds will go to those seeking recovery through the W.A.R. Foundation (Willing Addicts Recovering) in order to scholarship individuals into sober living as we guide them along a path to recovery. The W.A.R. Foundation is based in Richmond VA. Ten percent will go to The McShin Foundation, ten percent to REAL LIFE Community Center, and ten percent to True Recovery.
I spent 25 years of my life struggling with this disease. I’ve lost many friends along the way. I believe in my heart that this shirt represents far more than the 1250 names that are on it.
It represents the sons and daughters lost. The mothers and fathers. The best friends, husbands, wives, grandparents, and our neighbors. Those we’ve lost still have a voice. Let’s show the world just how loud they are.
My heart goes out to anyone that is taking the time to read this because you know first hand the reality of this epidemic. Thanks to all those who submitted names, and to those who didn’t or added late. It’s OK because we can use a Sharpie to add their name!
The shirt not only honors all who’ve died, but makes a statement to help those still living. Consider supporting those struggling to find and stay in recovery by buying a t-shirt.