When you’re personally battling addiction, the classification shouldn’t matter

At every stage, addiction is driven by one of the most powerful, mysterious, and vital forces of human existence. What drives addiction is longing — a longing not just of brain, belly, or loins but finally of the heart.

There are strong arguments that claim that addiction needs to be classified as a disease. It may not be something you can catch, like the flu, but it’s something that needs treatment and is partial “out of the individual’s control.” They lean on the mental health deterioration that leads an individual back to their substance of choice.

Equally strong counterarguments exist…


There’s no straight path from rehab to recovery, and that’s OK

“Don’t stay too long in the shame-filled grounds of relapse. Fertile soil awaits your return and your recoverying.”
Holli Kenley

The day my mom checked into rehab was sad but exciting. We knew that she wouldn’t be a part of our daily lives for at least a month or two for the first time in our lives. But then again, she was drunk almost daily and wasn’t a part of any positive aspect of our daily routine anymore.

To us, rehab meant that sobriety was in her future; it represented the chance at normalcy for our family. My mom…


We need to abolish the perfect attendance award while we’re at it

It was dark and dim within the usually well-lit auditorium. An invisible fog clouded everyone’s already teary eyes. The only sound in the room was the shuffling of the principal’s feet. In what was undoubtedly one of the most challenging moments of his career, he had to deliver the news to his students that their friend and classmate took his own life the night before.

I spoke with the student the day prior about his grades. His mom called the meeting to make sure he was on top of all of his work. He had an A- in my class…


What was once devastating became the most important realization of my career

I self-published my first book over three years ago. It was a memoir about my family’s battle with my mom’s addiction. Too Far Gone made me an author. I followed it up with two self-published poetry books and a how-to book.

Through paid ads, my Instagram page, and word-of-mouth, I made it 37 months selling at least one book until this past May. This “failure” has caused me to have the most significant epiphany of my writing career.

It’s Time to Give up on the Excuses

Prolonged droughts of no writing surrounded short spurts of accomplishing a lot. I quietly started my journey to becoming a writer in…


A Simple Coping Mechanism Became My Purpose

“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.” — Anne Frank

I was sitting in my car after another terrible day teaching at a school for at-risk students who were expelled from their previous school. An unpaved road behind the school gave me more accessible access to the highway I needed to get on for my commute home. Every day of work was worse than the last, so I’d speed out of that parking lot like a bat out of Hell. Not that day. …


The most important lesson from the most influential book

The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo is widely considered one of the most influential books ever created. Every page includes nuggets of wisdom that can help shape our understanding of the world around us and inspire us to follow our dreams.

Set mainly in North Africa, the story follows a young shepherd, Santiago, who believes that his destiny is to find a hidden treasure at the base of a pyramid in Egypt. His journey is long and tumultuous, but he learns about life and his connection to the world along the way.

The book is set in a mystical alternative past…


Acknowledging mental health days is life-changing

Have you ever worn a smile for a day? It’s exhausting. Whether your day was stressful or work was demanding, pretending to be feeling something you aren’t can put you on your ass.

We currently live in a world where taking off for any reason is frowned upon, but Covid is changing that. We are normalizing workers taking their sick days when they’re sick. That’s a big deal, but it can’t end there.

Discussions about mental health aren’t yet universally normalized, so taking mental health days isn’t even in our vocabulary yet. …


I couldn’t just “toughen up,” and it nearly destroyed me

I’ll never forget driving back to my college dorm room crying, shaking, and bleeding. I went down the turnpike with shards of glass still in my hair and blood on my knuckles and head. My girlfriend spent the entire ride trying to calm me down to no avail. I dropped her off at her college and retreated into my dark bedroom.

My roommates despised me for whatever reason and didn’t care to ask what happened to me. I spent the night alone, staring down out of the window of my fourth-floor room. Darkness shrouded me. Deep down, I knew I…


Life rewards you when you overcome tragedy.

The path to success and happiness is forged using the broken pieces of the roads of hardship.

A short YouTube documentary changed how I perceived every difficult moment in my life.

When I’m not writing, I’m a Social Studies teacher. When I was teaching about the Korean War, I showed a short documentary about a veteran named Arden who returned to South Korea for the first time since the war with his great-grandson. The two of them toured the country, and you watched their bond grow on camera. It was heartwarming.

Through each town and village, we learned more about…


I’ll save you some time: yes.

In order to understand how it affected my mental health, it’s important to understand what my family endured.

For most of my childhood, my mom struggled with severe depression from a traumatizing sexual assault when she was a teenager. After the passing of her mother, she took a nosedive. Slowly but surely, my mom developed a severe alcohol addiction.

When I experienced her first depressed binger, I was only ten years old. My dad tried to take us out to eat and act as if nothing out of the ordinary was occurring, but it was impossible. She yelled at my…

A. T. Micalizzi

Author. Poet. Teacher. Mental Health Advocate. My life experiences shape my writing. Check out all of my work ➡ https://bit.ly/2UzFIAm

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