Angela and Melanie


I started working at a local fast-food chain about two years ago. A year after me, a woman named Shae was hired and later that year so was her sister. That summer, on her first morning back to work after a few weeks off, Shae was found dead of a drug overdose.

Shae’s sister Angela came to work that night; she couldn’t afford not to. Though she’s also faced problems with addiction, she didn’t turn to drugs once while dealing with the loss of her sister. She put on the bravest face she could and didn’t let this tragedy change who she was.

The details of Shae’s life and death struck me differently than stories of people I didn’t know. I knew Shae – I saw her numerous times at work while these things were happening. But I had no idea. I didn’t know her extremely well, but I saw her on a weekly basis, not once thinking that she was struggling in the way she was.


I heard about Melanie though my brother; they’re in the same grade and he suggested that I should ask about an interview. She’s one of the youngest people I’ve interviewed so far; I can’t thank her enough to agreeing to talk about such a difficult topic with somebody she’d never met before. I hope I can find a way to help Melanie going forward. She deserves a bright future.


For anyone seeking professional help, advice, or information, please contact the person below. Bruce is a recovered addict who now works as a recovery coach. He knows how the brains of addicts work and what it takes to get sober. From alcohol to opiates, Bruce is one of the best possible people to turn to. Confidentiality is extremely important to him and he’s willing to accept anybody with open arms. There is not anybody who will be more forthcoming, warm, or helpful.




Bruce D. Stewart Jr.

Angela can be reached at She is more than happy to give advice or listen to anybody.


Addiction is not consistent. It doesn’t always look the same. It’s not confined to one drug, social class, or duration of time. Some people get sober; some people don’t. Some are in an ongoing limbo between sobriety and active use.

Angela’s battle with addiction has been a roller coaster. There have been countless ups and downs. Angela is well aware of the stigma surrounding addiction and she still agreed to put her life on display to help others understand. I can’t express how thankful I am to her for opening my eyes and allowing me to pass these lessons on to others. She’s been so open and raw in sharing her story. I hope viewers can try to keep an open mind about such a tough topic.

Angela made it very clear that she doesn’t want to paint her family members as bad people. The way she speaks of her family is reflective of her views and feelings in the past, not the present. Angela’s relationship with her family has improved and they care about each other very much.

Addiction Resources