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Stars Speak to Honor Women's Recovery

Singer Judy Collins and US Congresswoman Mary Bono Mac share their own experiences with addiction.

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Judy Collins, sober 30 years, spoke of her
son's suicide after a relapse. Photo via

By Valerie Tejeda

05/24/12

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US Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack and singer Judy Collins spoke about their own fights against addiction at Father Martin's Ashley's fifth annual Women in Recovery luncheon on Tuesday. Collins, who has been sober for 24 years, shared with the crowd how she copes with her daily struggle, saying "This disease breaks your hearts, but in recovery you have to live on life's terms. There are always going to be things you want to change in the world, but the only thing you can change is yourself." Collins has worked for years in recovery advocacy and and suicide prevention—a subject she is all too familiar with since her son, also an addict, took his own life after a relapse in 1992. "An alcohol survivor and a suicide survivor," she told a rapt audience, "they do the same thing to you. They ruin your life and they break your heart, and you have to learn to live with both." Congresswoman Mack was honored at the luncheon for her work in fighting prescription drug abuse and described herself to the crowd as a daughter, widow, and mother of addicts. Actress Lynda Carter and other supporters were present to help raise money for treatment programs for women. Peter Musser—the supervisor of the women’s program at Father Martin's Ashley treatment facility—has stated that addiction is different for women. "If [a woman] has addiction in her family history, it is more likely that the self-medication will become a full-blown addiction,” he said. “She may be drinking in secret. She may still be able to maintain. But it is insidious."

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