‘I didn’t know that about you,’ said a patient at work. I was embarrassed to be placed in the same category.’: Widow shares why she carries late fiancé’s Narcotics Anonymous key chains

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Read Betsy’s backstory here.

“‘Oh! I didn’t know that about you,’ said a patient at work.

My first reaction was to be defensive; my second was the opposite.

My first reaction stemmed from the stigma that comes with addictions… I was embarrassed to even be placed in possibly the same category.

The second reaction came when I realized why I carry these key chains.

Courtesy of Betsy Hendrickson Minton

I’m not a drug addict.

I’ve never struggled with an illicit substance.

The only NA meeting I went to was one I was speaking at as a widow and as health care professional.

But, I still carry two ‘Day One,’ one ‘Thirty Days,’ one ‘Sixty Days,’ and one ‘Ninety Days’ chips on my clinic keys.

Courtesy of Betsy Hendrickson Minton

And, this is why I carry them.

So, people will ask me.

So, I can tell my story about Jamie, and how these were his, and why now they’re mine.

So, maybe Jamie can still make an impact, now that he’s gone.

Courtesy of Betsy Hendrickson Minton

Jamie was 5 years sober when he bought a pill he didn’t know was fentanyl, and he died.

Jamie was 29 years old.

He was a dad to our five kids.

Courtesy of Betsy Hendrickson Minton

He was my person.

He was someone who should be carrying his own damn NA key chains.

Jamie went to rehab more than once before it stuck. And, he wasn’t embarrassed to acknowledge it.

He wasn’t scared to ask for help.

Courtesy of Betsy Hendrickson Minton

So, I carry his key chains now, and I tell his story, not just to our kids, but to anyone who will listen.

And, I don’t care if that brings on judgement, or if people look at me funny because of it.

I don’t care what it looks like to have my name tag saying ‘NURSE’ next to NA key chains.

Courtesy of Betsy Hendrickson Minton

I don’t care, because why should anyone feel shamed for being CLEAN? For admitting you’re struggling and you want help? Why would I care if people thought I, God forbid, at one point in my life, maybe struggled a little?!

The answer: I don’t.”

Courtesy of Betsy Hendrickson Minton

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Betsy Hendrickson – Minton, 25, and a mother of 5. Follow her journey on Instagram here.  Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more from Betsy:

‘It was a simple act of kindness she didn’t have to offer, as I’d never even met her in person. But she did.’: Act of kindness provides strength to let go and heal after loss of fiance

‘I used to tell people I didn’t believe in abortions. ‘It’s a baby! Murder!’ And then, my boyfriend died. You don’t know until you know.’: Woman struggling with grief says ‘I was faced with an impossible choice only I could make’

‘I left widow groups because my loss doesn’t get compassion like others.’: Woman reflects on overdose awareness day, ‘I loved him and he loved me’

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