Amy Jo Smith — Contributor

Many years ago Amy Jo was faced with addictions in her life. In the beginning, it was the alcoholism of her father; later, the alcoholism of a stepfather. She did not like what she saw, yet, inevitably, turned to addiction herself many years later. Amy Jo's addictions began with multiple surgeries that caused her to be on pain pills and valium for an extended period of time. Although she did eventually beat that addiction, she would find herself (several years later) a full-blown alcoholic who experimented with other drugs, as well.

As a result of her addiction to pain pills, her marriage began to fall apart. She lost her family. She became nervous, unable to function with life on her own. She was diagnosed with Anxiety Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Bi-Polar. She never felt at peace and things were very wrong with her. Traumas of her childhood started to catch up-the final blow being the divorce and loss of her home and family. In time, she met someone who drank heavily and she began to drink, also. The alcohol became a self-medication...but it was one that nearly destroyed her life.

This blog is to discuss how addictions can affect us, how mental illness can lead to the need to self-medicate, but also how the addiction can make the symptoms of the illnesses far worse. Amy Jo has finally found a way to reconcile all of these things and would like to share her experiences in the hopes that those with addictions can be helped and can overcome the tragedies with hard work, dedication and positive support.

Amy Jo has many other interests, as well, ranging from the social issues that society needs to address to the violent crimes of serial killers. She ran a web site many years ago called The Serial Killer Info Site that was a valuable resource to many. She has written book reviews that remain on a site called Deviant Crimes. Her site has been featured in a newspaper article which appeared in The Village Voice. Amy Jo is also a published poet in a book called the Colors of Life. These days, her heart lies in helping others through her own personal blog Serious Social Issues.

The following are Amy's contributions to MentalHelp.Net

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