Tammy Lofink is a mom from Carroll County, Maryland who was thrust into the world of addiction, treatment, and recovery when her son Rob suffered with addiction as a youth and tragically passed away due to a fatal overdose. Turning her grief towards helping others, she founded the non-profit organization Rising Above Addiction that offers resources for those suffering from addiction and entering recovery, as well as founded two recovery houses for women in Carroll County, Maryland. She is also the co-author of the new book Reclaiming My Life with co-author Sylvia Blair.
By Tammy Lofink, president of Rising Above Addiction and author of the new book Reclaiming My Life
Sylvia Blair, co-author of Reclaiming My Life, also contributed to this blog
Info on the book Reclaiming My Life: www.risingaboveaddiction.com/book
As president of Rising Above Addiction, a nonprofit which raises funds for urgently needed treatment for addicted individuals and helps people with access to treatment, I have embraced the concept of helping others for most of my life. Perhaps the most gratifying part of being an active member of the community is the opportunity to help others who are suffering, especially when they are in the grips of active addiction. This includes families who are affected by a loved one’s addiction.
My story is like many other tragic stories about how addiction impacts families. In 2014, I experienced a parent’s worst nightmare. At the tender age of 18, my son, Robert Mason Lofink, died of a drug overdose. The grief, suffering, and turmoil were almost too much to bear. I decided that I had to change the direction of my life, which was spiraling downward due to my grief. I had a vision to help others who were going through the same nightmare, so I co-founded Rising Above Addiction– just one year after Rob’s death. The work we do to help others gives meaning to Rob’s death. His legacy lives on through this work, and I hope that other people do not have to suffer the same pain that my family has endured.
The Healing Power of Helping Others
I have always believed that helping others is important, not only for the greater community but as a positive way to heal myself. Helping others is a way for me to share my insights and experiences with those whose lives have been touched by tragedy, so that through the power of example, they can understand and believe that there is a way out of the darkness.
On my darkest days, when I cannot stop thinking about Rob and when I am missing him so much, it helps me to think about others who need a helpful hand or a shoulder to cry on. It helps me to talk with those who are in my same shoes, because they tell me that my advice is helpful. When we finish up a conversation on the phone or when we say goodbye after talking in person, I feel like somehow, my experience has made things better for another wounded person. After all, we are all in this together, whether we are personally affected or not. Addiction is a community problem, and with community support, hope can return to many lives.
The Healing Power of Sharing Your Story
I have never been shy about being open about my life. I am an open book because I want to tackle issues head on to encourage change. I completely understand that some people prefer to remain private and to deal with painful emotions quietly and personally. I respect that decision. However, I feel that my story has helped others in their healing. Parents have contacted me to thank me for sharing. Individuals have contacted me to say that they no longer feel alone.
When I decided to write a book, I believed that I could return the same love and support I have received back to others. I named the book Reclaiming My Life. The book, which was co-authored by Maryland writer Sylvia Blair, is a collection of my life experiences, which shaped me along the way. Using my gifts of wisdom, courage, and bravery, I believe that my book offers the hope which can help others achieve inner peace after a tragedy of any kind.
Young people who are using drugs, adults whose pain medication has led to addiction, parents of youth who are worried, as well as family, friends, and loved ones will be riveted by our storytelling style. With each turn of the page, the book will surprise, engage, and comfort. I set up a website page with all the details, at www.risingaboveaddiction.com/book.
The Healing Power of Inspiring Others Through Action
I am a firm believer that taking action to help to address problems can turn the tide in a better direction. The community has rallied around my family from the beginning, with action to address addiction. Through the support of many generous donors, Rising Above Addiction is able to provide funds for detox and covers deductibles for inpatient treatment. Rising Above Addiction donates additional clothing to people who are going to treatment with just the clothes on their backs and provides shelter and food to those who are struggling to make ends meet. Over the years, I have developed relationships with treatment centers. I have spoken with legislators and I have become a community partner with our health department and state’s attorney’s office, among other organizations. Addiction never sleeps and neither do I. I am proud of our community, which continues to embrace recovery initiatives. The community’s involvement has been nothing short of inspiring. I believe that there is a ripple effect in the community, which inspires even more people to support our mission.
The Healing Power of Honoring Others
One of the most healing experiences I have had was the opportunity to honor Rob by opening our first sober home for women and naming it after him. It is called Reclaiming My Life. The initials RML are taken from Rob’s full name, Robert Mason Lofink. We opened a second sober home in honor of Kristin Marie Spurrier, a young woman who also died from an overdose, and whose initials are the reason for the home’s name, which is Keeping My Serenity. Now the memories of Rob and Kristin serve as a catalyst for turning around the lives of our residents who work so hard to follow our guidance.
If you or someone you know needs help for addiction or co-occurring disorder issues, please give us a call. Maryland Addiction Recovery Center offers the most comprehensive dual diagnosis addiction treatment in the Mid-Atlantic area. If we aren’t the best fit for you or your loved one, we will take the necessary time to work with you to find a treatment center or provider that better fits your needs. Please give us a call at (410) 773-0500 or email our team at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on all of our drug addiction, alcohol addiction and co-occurring disorder services and recovery resources, please visit our web site at www.marylandaddictionrecovery.com.