Amy Dresner is a professional journalist, speaker, author, and former comedian. While she has brought her passions to life in her career, her journey involved many speed bumps along the way. And the driving force of these issues was drug addiction.
Today, Amy shares her story with others in hopes to bring awareness of substance abuse and to help those who now stand where she once did.
She was one of the primary writers for TheFix.com since 2012 until earlier this year. She has also freelanced for Addiction.com, Psychology Today, Vice, Salon and Workit Health.
Thanks to Amy’s background as a comic, she’s carved out a unique speaking career for herself, being one of the few recovery advocates to use humor to break stigma. She was the sleeper hit at She Recovers in 2018 and has spoken at various recovery events and fundraisers all over the U.S. She’s also done over 80 recovery podcasts and radio shows including Rich Roll, Rock to Recovery and Dr. Drew. She’s also a recurring cohost on Dopey. Amy is gearing up to drop her own podcast called Rehab Confidential with Fix creator and clinical social worker, Joe Schrank.
But the success doesn’t stop there — Amy is also a well-established author whose first book, My Fair Junkie, a Memoir of Getting Dirty and Staying Clean, was launched to rave reviews including Elle Magazine who compared Dresner’s memoir to Carrie Fisher’s “Postcards From the Edge” and Mary Karr’s “Lit”, calling it one for the ages. .
Keep reading to learn more about Amy’s remarkable journey and how she conquered the troubling life of drug addiction
From the Depths of Darkness
From spending the Thanksgiving holiday shooting up cocaine to landing in a psychiatric ward thanks to a 2 week Ativan black out, Amy spent years in the darkness of addiction. On top of the drug use, she also experienced severe depression which is unfortunately very common for addicts. On a long IV cocaine binge, Amy’s had a 20-minute convulsion and had to be rushed to the ER. That’s when she knew she needed to make a serious change.
Since 2 rehabs had already failed, Amy’s parents moved her to Sante Fe, New Mexico, home of one of the best therapeutic programs for Amy’s dual diagnosis condition. Unfortunately this wasn’t where her battle with addiction ended.
The turning point in Amy’s story came years later was when she was high on Oxycontin and liquor and was arrested for felony domestic violence and taken to jail on Christmas of 2011. It was only by losing everything that she began to find sobriety and herself.
Where It All Began
Looking back on Amy’s childhood, she wasn’t in a very healthy environment. While growing up in Beverly Hills, CA, her parents split up when she was only two years old. And unfortunately, mental illness and addiction run in her family. Amy’s mom was once addicted to amphetamines and alcohol, and her uncle was also an amphetamine addict and a schizophrenic.
At 19 years old, Amy had her first drink of alcohol. From there, things went downhill in a hurry. By age 24, Amy fell in love with crystal meth and began using it regularly.
Growing up, Amy always felt uncomfortable in her own skin. She didn’t understand how to go about the world, and drugs made her feel okay. To Amy, drugs seemed like the solution to all of her problems.
And part of the reason why was due to Amy’s brain chemistry, which included low levels of dopamine. When Amy took drugs, it lifted her up and took away the worries, the pain, and all the negative things happening around here. When Amy described how she thought of crystal meth when she was an addict, she described it as a “magical potion.” It made her feel normal, beautiful, and confident in her own skin.
Amy started using crystal meth when she worked as a waitress in San Francisco. Coming from Los Angeles where everything was driven by money and appearances, she found San Francisco to be incredibly liberating. As she ventured to this thriving city on the Pacific coast, her goal was to find herself. But as she continued to take drugs on a frequent basis, she found success and happiness still far out of reach.
Amy was the type of person to get addicted to almost anything. Aside from substance abuse, Amy would become addicted to sex, nicotine, and even games on her phone.
Although her addiction has caused some of her relationships to crumble, the majority of them are still intact. Amy now has a great relationship with her family and has many friends that are still standing by her side.
The Real Battle of Self-Reconciliation
While Amy did work hard to repair her relationships with others, the real battle was reconciling with herself. One way she worked to overcome this hurdle was by forgiving herself. She realized that she wasn’t the person she once was and that her past actions didn’t define her.
Today, she responds to messages from others who are currently struggling with addiction, and she constantly sends love and inspiration to people who are in the darkness she once endured.
As Amy thinks back on her road to recovery, it was ironically the court ordered community service, the result of her arrest that finally changed her life.
When she was sweeping the streets one day, she paused and thought for a moment on if what she was doing was the best or worst thing to happen to her. She realized it was her decision to make.
At this moment she thought, “How could this be the most transformative and best experience? What are the lessons I can learn?”
From work ethic to finishing what she started, she found value and purpose in what she was doing, and this epiphany changed gears for her life. In fact, this moment is what inspired her to write her first book.
Using Past Experiences for Future Success
Aside from being an author, Amy also coaches other memoir writers. She considers herself to have an entrepreneurship mindset. And how she got that exceptional mindset actually relates to her drug-addiction-past: Obsession, survival, and determination are three words that have transferred over from addiction to her current mindset today.
Today as in years past, Amy is motivated to go after what she wants. She is now co-writing the pilot for a tv show based on her book.
She attributes the keys to her survival and success to persistence, candor, humor, persistence and persistence.
If You’re Struggling, Here’s Amy’s Advice For You…
Unfortunately, there are many entrepreneurs out there who are struggling with addiction but are too scared to get help. As Amy puts it, getting help “is the bravest thing you can do.”
She emphasizes that receiving help is the only way things will get better. But one problem in society involves the stigma around addiction and recovery. Amy feels that not many people realize how common addictions are and that many people feel ashamed because they don’t understand how widespread their problems are in society.
She owns her past, isn’t ashamed of it, and uses it as inspiration to help others — and people love her for being so open about her experiences. To Amy, the feelings behind her addictions are more common than people realize. “The feelings, the loneliness, the self-hatred, the craving of connection, feeling not good enough. Those are universal feelings,” she adds. And that relatable mindset is what drives so many to hear her story.
Connect With Amy
If you enjoyed hearing Amy’s story and want to connect with her, you can find her on Instagram and Twitter @AmyDresner; and you can also connect with her via Facebook. To learn more about her incredible journey, including her book, head on over to AmyDresner.com.
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