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Faces of Addiction Recovery in the Bronx (Photos)

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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The yin and yang of addiction exists in recovery vs. active substance abuse — the lines between the two blur and intertwine and balance. One rarely exists without the other, and relapse along the lifetime road that is recovery is common. Most addicts with whom I’ve spoken have made attempts at getting clean — even those with fleeting sobriety spells spoke on the beauty that lies on the recovery’s clean precipice.

Photographer Chris Arnade and I work in tandem to document the Faces of Recovery series, penning journeys of addicts in Bronx, NY who have become clean. This coincides with the Faces of Addiction photos and writing series in the Bronx. Remarkably, most recovering addicts, teeming with harrowing accounts, are among the most positive, openly optimistic subset of people I’ve met.

Here are a few folks we’ve met in the past few weeks. Click on the photo or name for more of the story on Chris’s flickr page.

Gilbert: Hunts Point Bronx
Gilbert — “I’m a good person. I feel with my heart. I feel good.”

Neylan: East Tremont, Bronx
Neylan — “Everything looks so different clean. I am starting to act like a child again, being silly, acting crazy when we go bowling. This is the most beautiful thing in my life. There’s something in my mind and my heart to make me love again.”

Manny: Mott Haven Bronx
Manny — “I feel good and motivated now. I got a little freedom, and I am learning how to live life.”

Marie: East Tremont, Bronx
Marie — “I feel wonderful now. I had no hope last year. I don’t have to turn a trick to get a bagel and a coffee.”

Cassie Rodenberg About the Author: I write on culture, poverty, addiction, and mental illness: I explore things we like to ignore. I also teach public school in New York City's South Bronx. Follow on Twitter @cassierodenberg.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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