Cracked Not Broken Documentary

A comment from a previous post suggested I watch a documentary titled Cracked Not Broken by independent film maker Paul Perrier. It was time well spent. In short, the film is about a woman named Lisa who is addicted to cocaine and works as a prostitute to support her habit. Much of the film is an interview with Lisa in a hotel room, where she honestly and openly talks about various aspects of her life on the edge – or as she calls it “the game.”

I love how the film goes from black and white to color as she feels the effects of the cocaine she has just injected into her body (yes, there are some graphic scenes). It also shows that despite a number of treatment episodes, Lisa continues to struggle with relapse hitting home how we understand addiction today – a chronic, relapsing brain disease.

What does Lisa need to successfully move forward in her life?

Healthy intimate relationships

Cocaine and sex have become more important than relationships – more important than her daughter, her friends, her family. Ultimately, for her to heal, she needs deep emotional connections to those she loves and cares about.

For her to have sustained, healthy emotionally-fulfilling relationships, will require that treatment and intervention place increased emphasis on helping her understand her emotional world in a safe way, and developmentally addressing her emotional deficits and constrictions .

Trauma resolution

Just watching Lisa in the video you can sense the chaos and trauma in her life. The splitting off and not letting herself feel is classic trauma. I have blogged about childhood trauma being the gift that keeps on giving (although it is hardly a gift), and for Lisa to move beyond her addiction will require significant trauma work.

Again, this is where traditional drug treatment programs often fail clients. They may diagnose PTSD, but rarely have the resources, time, or expertise to address it sufficiently. For someone like Lisa, this work likely will require many months (or years), but usually never happens because of short treatment stays.


Addiction is a brain disease, and as Eric Nestler (Professor and Chair of Neuroscience at Mt. Sinai) has so aptly put it – one that hijacks the brain with a force almost unheard of in our natural world. As a result, for Lisa to succeed, she will likely need some medication to help her with cravings, depression, anxiety, and other symptoms associated with her long use of cocaine as she slowly engages into a life without drugs and sex.

The HBO series on addiction has an excellent segment on relapse from Anna Rose Childress where she explains why the brain is so vulnerable to relapse. Her example in the film is a guy who is addicted to cocaine and reminds me a lot of Lisa. Dr. Childress even talks about an experimental medication for cocaine abusers that dramatically reduces the brain activity associated with craving (baclofen).

Lisa would also likely benefit from medications that reduce some of the hypersensitivities around her trauma, allowing the critical therapuetic work to progress more rapidly.


Actually, her willingness to be interviewed for the film, and share her story with others, taps into her creative side. She wants something “good to come from [her] addiction” and long-term success will necessitate that she continue to find ways to make meaning from her prior life experiences. Writing, singing, becoming a counselor, working with youth, helping other woman get off the street – these things become catalysts for turning shame into meaning.

As an afterword, there is a website dedicated to the film where Lisa had a blog – one that ended on 10/20/08 with her having been through treatment and achieving over a year of abstinence. She said she is going back to school to become a social worker. Since the blog entry, I can find no updates on how she is doing.

My hope is that she has connected with a  long term solution to addiction that leads her permanently away from addiction. Godspeed Lisa.


  1. says

    Hey John:

    Thanks for watching my film and writing this insightful blog about it. just to let you know Lisa is still on her road to recovery and is still clean and sober and continuing on with her education.

    Thanks again…


  2. Kelly Lash says

    Thanks for creating the documentary, Paul! I admire Lisa’s courage for sharing her story with the world. She is very honest and open about her addiction and how her life revolves around addiction. I am so pleased to hear that Lisa is continuing to educate herself and others and using her creativity to help her and others with her recovery! By sharing her documentary with the world, Lisa is educating people about addiction and the real struggles associated with it.

    It’s essential that people understand that “the game” Lisa must play is something we need to talk about openly and honestly if we’re going to help people manage their addictions and provide the resources for them to do so. The free needle exchange program Lisa referred to is just one example of a resource that must be available to help people manage their addictions. Lisa is right that the life of a prostitute or a crack addict is just not talked about in our society. Addiction is a real chronic disease of the brain and it must be talked about in that manner as we continue to make headway.

    Basic human rights such as safety must be provided to people with addictions. Free needle exchange programs and safe residential facilities with harm reduction models that allow safe places for people to stay so they don’t have to live and use drugs on the street, are a few things that come to mind in terms of basic human rights. I currently work in a residential facility that uses a harm reduction model in treating clients with severe mental illness and addiction problems. It makes me feel a lot better knowing that the residents have a safe roof over their heads so they don’t have to shoot up on the streets.

  3. sthorpe says

    Cracked Not Broken was such a powerful film. Thank you to Lisa for sharing her story, Paul for creating it, Kelly for finding it, and to Dr. Fitzgerald for further highlighting its importance. I was so uncomfortable inside my own skin toward the end. I found it very easy to relate to Lisa. While I don’t think of my interpersonal relations or life as a “game”, I do like to feel in control and strive to fill my life with satisfying activities. At the beginning of the film, Lisa was doing just that. She demonstrated control over her schedule, personal finances, and the amount of cocaine she used daily. The sensation she experienced as soon as she got high seemed just as thrilling and satisfying as the nerve- racking risk and challenge of managing a “date”.

    I was struck by the dramatic change in attitude the film captured after the 1st and then 2nd relapse Lisa experienced. Lisa went from living to “gaming” to “surviving” to merely “existing”. She admitted to feeling so ashamed toward the end of the film. She appeared utterly exhausted and afraid. I could no longer relate to the woman who now got high in order to survive the lonely, dangerous lifestyle she had succumbed to. Lisa began to isolate more, making it harder and harder for her to relate to those around her.

    It seems incredibly difficult, nearly impossible, to successfully intervene with a person who is in the midst of the “game”, where getting high is still thrilling, and life is perceived as “working”. It seems Lisa didn’t have the motivation to stop using because she was so successful at getting her needs met. The film very clearly depicts, however, the idea that the further one spirals in to addiction, the more and more difficult it becomes to just complete a treatment program, let alone attain sobriety and recover from emotional trauma. Early intervention, whenever possible, is crucial. What if more emphasis, resources, and opportunities were made available to intervene when a person’s alcohol/drug use or other excessive behaviors could be identified as overindulging or problematic rather than at the point when one is getting high in order to survive? Would this prevent individuals like Lisa from becoming so deeply entrenched in a cycle of addiction or does each person have a natural process to cycle through, leaving premature interventions as nothing more than futile attempts? Perhaps if there was greater emphasis on the importance of educating youth and young adults on how to determine whether they are biologically, emotionally, and/or environmentally vulnerable to addiction, prevention and early intervention services would have the potential to be more successful. Greater public awareness of the concept of vulnerability to a chronic medical disease and the subsequent risks involved could be highly effective in the efforts to reduce addiction’s harmful impact on individuals, families, communities, and society.

    Thanks again for such an inspiring glimpse of one woman’s strength in her quest to heal.

  4. nikki says

    I feel, in general, creativity should be more incorporated with therapeutic strategies and treatments. In your previous post you mentioned how the brain needs additional time to heal between detoxification and treatment, to fully benefit and actualize treatment. I feel this might be an excellent opportunity to implement art and music therapies, mindfulness and meditation exercises and or creative workshops that may interest the client. Most people are connected to music or art on some level, and may even reach people who are resistant to therapy. Art and music programs can facilitate self expression, awareness, peer interaction, and ultimately may even help work through some traumas. Offering this vulnerable time of healing, as a time for creation and self-exploration may engender self-esteem, new interests/hobbies, and healthy coping strategies. Also, keeping this time after detoxification ‘loose’ in terms of therapy, and more ‘playful’, but still relevant to positive healing, may be an excellent way to graduate into a more intense treatment

    Lisa’s story is such a courageous and beautiful example of turning horrible life experiences into self-empowerment, education, and awareness through creativity. I believe our ability to create is an extremely important and underrated contribution to the process of therapy and in Lisa’ s case, may be what really saves her. She will always be able to look back at this work and have it to motivate and inspire her recovery. This video will move others battling addiction to seek help and educate many people about the severity of the disease. Through counseling, we can use creativity to help us find a window into our clients and see the prospect to turn their shame into meaning.

    On another note, I also thought this story was a tragic, but honest illustration of the emotional and developmental constriction as a result of the cyclic jail of addiction. You can blatantly see how the majority of Lisa’s interaction is revolving around a hotel room and how flat, closed off, and void of growth and emotional connection, her life has become. You really get a sense for how someone becomes so trapped in this state, and how difficult it is to get out. This story affirms the urgency for empathetic outreach, raised awareness, and long-term individualized care.

  5. JRyan says

    It is truly wonderful to hear the update on Lisa’s continued victory over her addictions. By allowing people to see into the day-to-day life of an addict, she has undoubtedly made a positive impact on a major social problem.

    While viewing the documentary, I couldn’t help but wonder what influence a program such as Housing First might have on Lisa and other women in the same circumstances. She noted early in the film that one of her main expenses was the ongoing rental of hotel rooms.

    An ideal environment for Lisa would seem to be a program that provides housing that is not based upon abstinence and that offers the opportunity to engage in therapy to address her underlying problems with relationships. In addition, the program would include appropriate medication for aiding Lisa with withdrawal symptoms. All of these factors would have a synergistic effect on her relapse prevention.

    It seems that the medication and ongoing aftercare have been the key elements missing in Lisa’s previous attempts at overcoming her addictions. Perhaps these therapeutic aspects have been added to Lisa’s current regimen and are the reasons for her success.

  6. Dan J says

    The thing that impacted me the most when I watched the video was how emotionally aware and insightful Lisa was. She said the reason she used drugs was to repress the things that needed to be repressed. She refers to the poem her mother wrote as one of those things she was not strong enough to cope with without the use of drugs. At another point she talked about her ups and downs saying that everything could turn around in a minute; if you spent the day with her you would see someone confident and alive then afraid and out of control. All the while she remained aware of the emotions she was feeling and the patterns showing up in her life.
    What kind of therapy would be most helpful for someone like Lisa? She is insightful and wants to change, but she didn’t seem to be able to get the momentum to really apply what she knew to make change. I wonder, as a future therapist, how I would approach a situation like this. Would CBT be the best way to meet her where she was at?

  7. JRyan says

    Regarding creativity, there can be a physiological problem in developing that aspect of life if the damage to the brain has affected the function of the fusiform gyrus wherein lays the ability for metaphorical thought. The damage to the brain caused by addiction is clearly seen in the previous blog on neuro-imaging.

    The fusiform gyrus area of the brain is the crossroads for hearing, vision, and touch which is the reason that it is considered the location of metaphor. While we are all born with interconnections between all areas of the brain, there is a gene responsible for trimming those connections to a manageable level. Genetic malfunction or other damage to the area can cause excessive or deficient expressions of creativity.

    Neurologist V.S. Ramachandran states that this area of the brain is eight times larger in humans than in lower primates. Its size suggests that it is a highly meaningful structure in navigating through the activities of daily life. He also says that damage to this area can result in synaesthesia, a condition where sounds or numbers appear as colors, or colors have sounds, etc. This condition is eight times more common among artists, poets, novelists and other creative people than in the general population.

    Add to that the high addiction rates seen throughout history in creative people such as Poe, Hemingway, Freud, Dickens, and many others and it suggests that the fusiform gyrus may play a key role in the creativity/reward process related to addictions.

  8. Kevin Govro says

    I just watched the “Cracked” video of Lisa and found it extremely powerful. Lisa is a very likable woman and it was sad to see someone like her in such a dangerous, desperate cycle. It was incredible, to me, how much money she needed to generate on a daily basis to maintain her addiction. It is no surprise that women with her condition turn to prostitution. It was sad to learn that she had a child and I wanted to know where the child was currently. Lisa acknowledged her need to escape and suppress the pain inside her and my hope for her is that she found a treatment program that effectively treated her co-occurring, serious mental issues as well as her addiction problem.

  9. MRW says

    What stands out for me is the title “cracked not broken,” it says alot to what we speak about when we say addiction is chronic or when we say that drugs “hijack the brain,” these things have been the biggest influence in my understanding of addiction. People cannot always control how their body will respond to substances etc., for this person Lisa, did she expect to be a crack addict? Housing first as commented before came to mind. “theres something in Lisa, that snaps,” says a friend of hers on the video…and that is the truth of it. I’ve never experienced addiction so when I see these videos I find I have a strong desire to really understand more what addiction is and how we can adjust therapy/treatment to help people.

  10. Kelly Lash says

    Nikki, I absolutely agree with you that creative therapies such as art and music therapy can be extremely healing. I have witnessed and experienced tremendous benefits from learning creative therapies and involving others. Dance therapy, movement therapy, meditation, yoga, art therapy, wilderness therapy, and horticultural therapy are just some examples. Several months ago in Counseling Today, I read about a therapist who leads yoga therapy classes at a treatment center for adolescent boys who have experienced trauma. The results she finds are incredible. The ability to recognize the trauma that has bottled up inside our bodies for a lifetime is crucial in healing from that trauma. Yoga is just one vessel to do this type of body work, but a great one. The most important part of doing this work though is to provide individual therapy in addition, because the somatic responses that can arise from body work can be equally as traumatic if we don’t know how to effectively manage these feelings.

  11. Deena says

    Nikki, I was just working on the exact same reply for that same post. I too believe that some form of creativity can be administered during the phase between detox and treatment. Even something as simple as journaling about your addictions or what you notice your body doing at certain times would on some level be helpful. I think we miss cues given to us, we become so wrapped up in the process of routine in life that we forget what truly inspires us, what engages us, what moves us forward. We don’t learn to recognize or listen to what our bodies are trying to communicate. I don’t think much of this is different from the ways in which addictions are handled and dealt with in the field; continually going through the motions of treatment. Many treatment programs don’t stress listening to the body, nor creativity.

  12. Sara G says

    The film was devastating to watch. What I found especially disturbing to contemplate was that there was no trigger for the use to begin. She started at 12 years old and lost herself and her ability to make choices. Of course, she experienced a tremendous amount of trauma since beginning using, but from the slim outward presentation in the film about her childhood and family, it didn’t appear that trauma triggered the use. Some people are truly genetically predisposed to be addicts. I think this is something that many people cannot understand. A friend of mine has tendencies towards OCD. She did some counting and touching in her youth. We were discussing this in conjunction with my chosen career path (counseling), and she said, “Well, I just decided to stop counting.” She went on to imply that people who couldn’t “just stop” were weak and undisciplined. Because she was able to find the resources within herself to stop, she simply could not understand that others couldn’t. We are so chained to our own perspectives and to our extreme sense of individuality that often we are unable to call up the compassion necessary to relate to others, especially others with mental diseases.
    I appreciate the openness Lisa brought to the film. It truly touched me and helped me to see addiction in a new light. Thank you.

  13. AnneW says

    This film truly gave me a new perspective on people with addictions. Although I have seen first hand how addiction can take its toll and ravage relationships in my own family, I have never so intimately experienced such a devastating case. As I began to see the many ways I could relate to Lisa, I realized how biased I have been about addicts that relinquish their whole lives to maintain the high. I recognize now that I have had a stereotype of the classic “down and out” drug addict and until now that stereotype hasn’t included someone like Lisa – someone to whom I could truly relate.

    Lisa appeared to have a very strong countenance and quite a lot of insight into her actions and the impact that they have on her well being. Although we don’t know what her upbringing was like and whether she experienced trauma during childhood, we can see through her tough and confident façade that she is suffering tremendously and that she uses drugs to shut off the valve to this emotional pain. It is evident that she is very good at managing this valve and that she will go to great extremes to suppress her incredible grief and shame – even if it means putting her body and soul in grave danger. It is incredible how well Lisa has made the “game” work for her. Despite her addiction, she seems to have a great deal of control over how she chooses to run her life. Clearly, it is the addiction that has control over her life, but she has managed to create a very controlled way to feed it. This leads me to question whether it is a feeling of a lack of control over one’s life that leads people to addictions in the first place.

    I can see how Lisa’s fear and insecurity have continued to fuel her cycle of addiction, but I also believe that she is overcome by the physiological vulnerability that is inherent to her genetic structure. I wonder if Lisa had found healthy outlets to express herself and had the emotional support she needed at her most vulnerable points, she may have been able to fight this genetic predisposition so many years ago when she took her first hit. As it turned out, she may have not had those preventive measures in place and once the brain hijacking and subsequent cycles to feed the addiction began, there was virtually nothing that could thwart the momentum.

    Lisa had lost so much, her child, her relationship with family and friends, her sense of dignity, her connection to her emotions, etc. I wonder if Lisa and others with addictions feel at a certain point that the more they lose, the less they have to lose and that this leads them to a sense of great hopelessness which further increases their desire to use. This sense of great loss would no doubt lead most, including myself, to succumb to any vice that brought respite from the pain. This is what I felt I could empathize most with Lisa’s story and with all people who suffer from addictions.

    Hearing of Lisa’s recovery and the resulting gains she has made in her life, renewed connections to her family and the reigniting of her passion for life, is quite heartwarming indeed. It is likely that the film engendered a new creative outlet for Lisa, one in which she could focus her attention on helping others and find the will to regain her life. However, I am sure it was many variables that helped Lisa maintain sobriety, many of which are unique to her own recovery process. Perhaps that is why manual-based addiction treatment can prove so ineffective, because each individual has his or her own catalysts that lead to long-term recovery. I am so grateful to Lisa for sharing her harrowing story and to Paul for making it available to us in such a visceral manner.

  14. Haley Weiner says

    When I see a documentary like “Cracked Not Broken,” or a show like Intervention, which I always watch On Demand at my parents’ house, I feel a peculiar mixture of (admittedly) morbid fascination, mild trauma, and desensitization. But I like to watch to try to understand addiction better, and how it affects us, because it is all around us. I have several close friends from my hometown and first year of college who became addicted to hard drugs, often crack and heroin. They were bright, creative people with potential. When I look at it through my current lens, they were clearly responding to trauma, but often the ravages of the drugs amplified and exacerbated the initial trauma and made things seem more hopeless. In some of them, there was irreparable brain damage. It’s disturbing to me how common it is.

    It was weird watching Lisa in the documentary as her affect shifted from pensive, preoccupied seriousness to manic, goal-oriented “happiness” when she got high. It’s easy to write off an addict’s change in mood and behavior as something that is all “bad” when they’re using, but really I think to a lot of addicts, the time when they’re high is when they feel a tiny sense of control because they’re blotting out anxiety or emotional pain. Convincing someone to give that up when they don’t see any other way out of their pain can feel futile, seeing how some people cling to their drugs.

    I think a lot of us are really struggling to understand what’s going on with addiction in our culture these days, because it’s something that, while epidemic, still has a lot of stigma. Many of us are isolated and prevented from healing with others, 12-step groups notwithstanding. Just writing this and thinking about all the awesome people I grew up with that fell by the wayside because of hard drug addictions (I did hang out with the artistic, semi-disaffected folks that probably had other co-occuring disorders) is truly staggering, and really sad. It also makes me angry when I think of how easy it is to find drugs and how hard it is to find a decent job.

    It’s also remarkable to think about the many people who are substance-dependent, but are also functional, and their addiction doesn’t lead them to the depths that someone like Lisa goes to. Cocaine use is common among professionals, and not thought of as being as “dirty” as crack, heroin, or meth. I’m interested in exploring models of addiction that are continuum-based, and that are inclusive of the many shapes and levels of severity addictions can take.

  15. R.J. says

    The film “Cracked Not Broken” instigates a wide range of thoughts and emotions for me on a personal level. As an addiction treatment provider I am content to note that Lisa is trying on number of levels and through a number of actions to battle her addiction. The very fact that she continues to return to treatment in between episodes of use and that she requested to have this film made and her behavior forever documented for her and other’s use speaks to her desire to be well and address her addiction. As a father of a young daughter I am very saddened by the reality of this video and for the negative impact that it will undoubtedly have on her own daughter. These range of emotions and thoughts are, in my experience, par for the course where addiction is concerned. Though Lisa’s actions may be viewed as valiant resilient and well intentioned , the reality of addiction and the negative impact on their loved ones is undeniable and truly catastrophic. Indeed, Godspeed to Lisa and her family.

  16. Kelly L says

    JRyan, I find your response regarding Synesthesia very insightful. When you mentioned how certain people see numbers and words as colors, shapes, or patterns in their minds is so intriguing to me. And the fact that an amazingly unique skill or way of thinking such as this is all due to the neurological composition of one’s brain. It reminded me of a video we recently watched in Development class on a Savant with Asperger’s Syndrome who has Synesthesia, in which he viewed numbers as pictures in his mind while explaining that this was how he was able to learn and remember long strings of hundreds of numbers.

    I have a friend who describes her thoughts in this way and it was so difficult for me to understand when she first told this many years ago. The more I hear about this being common for some people, and very common in artists, however, the more it makes sense to me. My friend is not a genius, at least not in the “normal”, or “academic” definition of the word genius, so I am curious how her brain would compare to the savant’s brain, and other peoples brains who think in this way. And, how these people’s brains compare to my brain, who does not think in this visual way at all, in fact, my brain usually reverses or flip-flops memories of spacial concepts, which makes it impossible to navigate my way around a new city in the dark and not get lost, even WITH a GPS.

    It is also interesting how head trauma can cause neurological rewiring and various conditions such as Synesthesia …

  17. Gerald Flynn says

    Two things stick out to me when I think of the things Lisa needs to do to successfully move on with her life; trauma resolution and medications. One of the things that are somewhat unique to substance abuse is the ability to numb ones feelings. It’s a vicious cycle for sure, using drugs or alcohol to numb the pain meanwhile creating even more feelings of guilt or hopelessness because of the lifestyle associated with addiction. So often addicts start by numbing guilt or trauma, but the more time spent using starts to add feelings of fear and worry. At least it did for me. I abused alcohol for twenty-four years. I’ve now been sober for seven years. Towards the end of my life as a drinker I was always scared. So many times I tried to think of what I was so scared of and could not. I finally can say, after a thorough look at my feelings, I was afraid to feel. Alcohol is a depressant, sure, and I exhibited all the symptoms of being depressed, but I was afraid to consider life without booze. I was a classic case, hiding whiskey all over the house, vigorously defending the amount I had drank that day, easily hurt or angered. I could not face sleep without knowing some kind of alcohol was within reach when I would wake up after passing out, usually two to three hours later. Wrecked relationships, incarceration, countless lost jobs and opportunities, the list goes on and on and is common for drunks. I think what really turned me around was the fact that alcohol just had stopped working to numb my feelings. It was taking so much alcohol, I would black out quicker and quicker and awaken more and more terrified. I tried meth, but talk about terrifying comedowns! I went to inpatient treatment for thirty days in Eastern Oregon and completed it. I managed to stay sober for a total of 47 days (including treatment), and upon driving back to the Metro area I stopped and bought a bottle whiskey and was slammed by Troutdale. In the end nothing could cover the feelings I was trying to avoid long enough. I finally resolved I was hopeless. I became very suicidal and decided before ending it all I would try AA. The first six months I relapsed about every two to three weeks. I immersed my self in the twelve steps and long story short was able to reconcile a lot of my fear and guilt. I was able to let go of certain traumatic events- some where I was the victim and some where I was the victimizer. I sometimes wonder if medication would have helped in those six months of relapse. I often see folks whom are deemed hopeless and wonder if a temporary period of medicated sobriety would be the key to long term sobriety. Today I cannot imagine not feeling sadness, happiness, regret, anticipation and hope. The biggest thing absent, and the biggest factor in my sobriety is the lack of fear. Since I‘ve been sober I have had my mother pass away. I have been out of work since May, my financial situation is always nerve racking yet through all of these challenges I have not experienced the fear I lived with on a daily basis as a drunk. I am one who can never drink again. If I did I know the fear would return to my life and I’m not willing to risk it.

  18. Stephanie says

    This film was both interesting and powerful. I was amazed at Lisa’a ability to speak so openly about her life and her struggles with addiction. I think what amazed me the most was how insightful Lisa was. She was so conscious of the motivations behind her behavior, whether it be the reasons that she has done drugs throughout her life or how she represses things in her life that are too painful to deal with. Even more so, I was amazed at her understanding of how her addiction controls her life. I was also impressed by her desire to use her addiction as an opportunity to help other people, especially women. The need for creativity and the desire to help others was already there. The sad part is that despite all of that she was still struggling to beat her addiction. I am so happy to hear that Lisa is maintaining her sobriety and doing what she wanted; using her struggles to help others. I hope that she can continue on with her sobriety and her new purpose in life. I am glad that I watched this film as it so candidly documents the real life of an addict. This can be a useful tool for people to have a better understanding of what it means to be an addict.

  19. anonymous loki says

    What an amazing piece. It truly resonates on many levels. This story made me think of the power of stories. How we as individuals can use fiction/nonfiction, movies, poems and narratives to connect in a way that has nothing to do with touch or friendship and family.

    They are very powerful and I believe that the sharing of our experiences is both therapeutic personally but socially as well. By revealing our strengths as well as our weaknesses leaves us open and vulnerable. By shutting everything inside we can never learn from it. We can never see where we as a society need to change. We need to be open, open, open and in this society honesty is punished. We are looked down upon for bringing down the efficiency of our economy, looked down at for not following the master plan, looked down at for being fallible, being human.

    If Lisa were to ever read this I’d want to tell her “I thank you Lisa for sharing your story, for sharing your strength, your pain, your you. Seeing your struggle lets me know that I am not alone. I am not doing crack, I am not doing the game but I am frail, I am human and I have fallen down just as you. Just as you picked yourself up time and time again so will I and your story inspires hope in me.”

    We can’t exist alone and hope to succeed. Earlier this fall I responded to a blog post of Dr. J’s and talked about the transition from baby to adult. Then I was concerned with the fact that we as humans are dependent on so many factors and people at birth and how we move from this helpless state to one of independence and individuation. My reasoning here was in a negative route, rooted in my addiction’s perceptions and rationale. If a baby is so dependent why not a human adult? Why should it surprise us that people turn to objects of addiction to adapt to a world that wants you dependent on their products and ideas.

    This was bull****. Sorry to bring down the level of Dr. J’s blog with potty words but all I was trying to do with this line of thinking was to use good knowledge and pervert it to my paradigm. Yes we start off dependent but we grow, we grow.

    And sometimes that growth goes great and we recreate the strong bonds and environment that created this in us in spite of the world.

    And sometimes the process of growth is tainted by trauma and the dark side of the world. and we create another layer of the darkness that covers the land. We suffer alone in the fantasy of our youth, the nightmare that you never wake from.

    And sometimes people go through those same dark times and come out o.k. with time and the love of people who still hold onto that despite the urge to cut them out of their lives.

    and on, and on, and on and on…

    The point I’m trying to make (I think) is that the past is the past, once we see our past for what it is, take it in and reclaim the entirety of our history we can then take steps to create an environment and healthy relationships that were denied to us at birth. While the world may have given us thorns and pain at birth, as adults we can move on in spite of that and create our own story, one that is ours and ours alone.

    That has power. I looked at creating healthy relationships as merely trading one dependency for another. Instead of the opium den you could have the family den, and i thought they were one and the same. Instead of being dependent on opium you’d be dependent on people. And people are what failed us in the first place.

    They are not the same. Not for one second. The objects of addiction are to stamp it down, put the darkness of trauma out of sight and deep into our minds below awareness. The objects of human connection when made with matching good intent and energy lift us up and give us the strength and community needed to create purpose, love and healing.

    Thanks for your time,

    the anonymous ME

  20. luis g says

    A Response to Haley Weiner, November 30, 2009 at 11:19 am

    I agree on the score that the relationship between an object of addiction and the feelings, anxieties, energy etc. that the object covers up. I was reading you response and on ITunes Metallica’s “The memory remains” came on and it made me think of how this relationship helps the client in the short term and makes the road to recovery even harder. Once the addicted individual decides to move and try life anew the “memory remains” of how easy it was to deal with the demons that plagued them. I recall a memory form m early grade school days. This was the time I discovered that the answers to my math homework were in the back of the book. It was very difficult to do the homework, and I was a kid who totally thought math was beyond lame, super lame. With each question all I’d think of was ”All you have to do is turn to the back, write it down and then move on to Nintendo or tv.” Imagine the difficulty faced by the addict who is met their 1st obstacle to know that if they get their object, to turn to the back of the book they can bypass this obstacle and feel good, better than good-feel great. We can stop and change our perceptions but the memory remains.

  21. Troy S says

    I found this documentary to be very touching, especially when the film maker returned after four months to show Lisa the rough cut of his footage. Earlier in the film it seemed as though she were distracting herself from how her life had been derailed by focusing on the strategy of the “game”, but her demeanor changed at the later segment. She was much more direct about her awareness of how her addiction has destroyed her life, and the film was exceedingly successful in connecting me emotionally to her struggle.

    I can see how the pain that is created by this disease can lead to anger and blame, but making decisions based on anger and blame will only provide an inadequate sense of justice rather than effective solutions. This film is one more step in changing perception that the addicts should be blamed and punished for their shortcomings as a way to realize change. Her helplessness despite obvious intelligence, insight, and suffering truly communicates the message that this is not just a choice, as no person would simply choose to destroy a life with so much potential and hurt the only people they care about.

    I am thoroughly impressed that Lisa is willing to use her disheartening tale to bring about positive change, effectively “creating” a silver lining on a stormy cloud that must have seemed to cover the entire sky. While it has been a challenge for her to remain sober, I believe her decision to expose her adversity so it may benefit others incredible strength.

  22. Dina Soriano says

    When I viewed the documentary, I was most struck by Lisa describing what was going on in her brain when she relapsed. She discussed sobriety for her as turning part of her brain off, but she relapsed she listened to that part of the brain. This supports what we already know about the brain and addiction. That addiction severely alters brain functioning. These modifications to the brain caused by drug use/abuse make relapse very likely or difficult to combat. It reminded me of my own struggles to quit smoking. I logically knew that smoking would kill me and was wrong, but something inside of me just wanted one above all else…above my mother’s appeals and bribes to quit, my own values of long-term health, financial reasons etc. I have never felt so powerless over anything in my entire life. I was finally successful at quitting when I combined medication with hypnotism, a gym membership and a support person. It all honesty it was the medication that I felt really helped to minimize the withdrawal symptoms as well as deal with social triggers. Like Lisa I felt that part of my brain was conflicting with itself and I needed support to fight those messages.

  23. Azusa says

    Thanks for sharing this video, John, and I really appreciated Lisa’s courage to make this documentary. It has strong messages that anybody with any type of background can get hooked with drugs when something went wrong, and get addicted; and once they are addicts it’s so challenging for them to get off, even though they are being treated, relapse happens in the hyjacked brain so commonly, even they lose so much for the use. And they even can be successfully treated after the long term use of drugs. It also made me realized again the importance of creatibity, Lisa’s willingness to share her experiences in “hell” for 14 years.
    In her blog, her expression of feelings of remorse, shame and guilt were strong enough for me to rethink why she continued the use, her lifestyle in an isolated hotel room, at cost of the loss. However, when she said it is the craiziness of the drug in her blog, I just believed it is the way it is. It’s scary.
    I felt so happy for Lisa (hoping she is doing well after the last blog) when I saw the changing process in her blog I could feel slowly but surely she changed in the way she expressed how she felt about herself. She felt good “inside”. That was amazing to me.
    As we know creativity helps people with issues to move foward, I think her involvement to make this documentary video and to blog to share what she honestly felt at the time of use, recovery process and after achievement of soberity (it helped me to look into what was going on in her brain when it was on and off) motivated her to make a change. Even though she said she didn’t really have a choice to or not to get high, it really was her choice to commit. I admire her courage. It was incredible.

  24. says

    To whom it may concern;

    I just spent the last twenty minutes reading all the respones to the film and just wanted to thank everyone who took the time to write about it. A refreshing change from some of the rantings on Hulu (although they are enjoyable none the less ?). Please pass on the film to anyone who may have interest.



  25. Anonymous says

    Thanks Paul! Will definitely continue to pass on the film to those who could benefit.


  26. says

    I feel like she needs to remain in a treatment facility for about a year at the least and have her daughter come for visits everyday giving words of encouragement. As well relearning how to use her business mind in a certain business that she go to work @ once she finishes recovery! After finishing her recovery have come by @ least three times a week to gain more strength and keep her a positive support group around her that gives her the love and caring that she normally recieved from drugs and sex.
    I would like to also thank her for allowing the camera crew to video tape her and share her story, because I know for a fact that it saved a girl who might of went down the same path or brought a girl from going down that path. I think this video needs to be shown at schools on all levels because everyone starts using at diffrent stages in life.
    Sincerly Thanking You
    Jasse Chimuku PSU student.

  27. Nicole says

    Thank you very much for posting this film. I found it to be quite enlightening. I am able to understand, and agree, with healthy intimate relationships and trauma resolutions being two (of many) very important factors in healing and moving through life. I will be recommending this film to those close to me.

    Thank you very much.


  28. Jordannah B. says

    The “Cracked Not Broken” video has provided me with so much insight to the life of an addict. It helped me to see past my stereotypes of users being crazy, unpresentable people. I found Lisa to actually be quite articulate with a lot of wisdom about her own situation. Hearing about the nurse that was addicted to crack as well shattered another stereotype. This video really helped me to see that educated people, even people in health care, can fall prey to addiction. Thank you for posting the video. It is very powerful, and it makes my heart glad to hear that Lisa’s on the path of recovery.

  29. says

    I feel for certain Lisa has made a difference in the life’s of individuals who hear her story. Thank you for sharing Lisa. I am so happy and pleased Lisa is on her path of recovery.

  30. Phil says

    Addiction in a nutshell, is a chemical imbalance. Our brain’s natural chemistry gets thrown out of whack because certain drugs fit into certain receptors in the brain. The brain likes the foreign substance better than the similar chemical it produces, such as dopamine, serotonin, adrenaline, etc. In order to break free from addiction you must reset your brain’s natural chemistry. This is NOT ACHIEVED THROUGH PRESCRIPTION DRUG USE. That is essentially trading one addiction for another, albeit more socially acceptable and may or may not have less devastating long term effects. Your family doctor cannot help you in any meaningful way. He does not know the truth, and also owns lots of stock in the pharmaceutical companies for whom he is a drug dealer.
    Before going any further with this, I must say that I am a recovering cocaine addict and alcoholic, a former drug enthusiast who did almost everything under the sun. (I would still like to try peyote if i could ever find it, but no longer searching). I used atleast a case of beer and an 8-ball on a daily basis, along with marijuana. I was essentially unemployable and pulled tons of retarded scams day in and day out to fuel my insatiable habits that I have struggled with for over half my life. I’m now 34.
    The correct way to restore your brain’s chemistry is with NUTRIENT THERAPY. You will never get away from the cravings until balance is restored upstairs. This is a very effective and in depth subject that I do not fully understand, but I will disclose the information that got me off coke for over 2 years, away from the bottle and made me a productive and functioning member of society. I even have actual goals and a life strategy that doesn’t include scoring dope or ripping off people and businesses.
    I have always been into reading and would often steal books to occupy myself while high. One day I discovered a book in the airport bookstore called “HOW TO QUIT WITHOUT FEELING SHIT”
    I knew there was bigger and better things for me than prison and/or death, so I stole it and promptly began reading. This book was written by three doctors from europe with each having over thirty years of addiction treatment experience. The author’s names are Patrick Holford, David Miller and James Braly. I would highly recommend this book for anyone who is addicted to anything from caffeine, coke, smokes, booze, refined sugar, etc. There are drug specific programs laid out in great detail not only explaining what to do, but also what is or isn’t happening in your brain. There is plenty of info from these guys online and I am living proof that this works. I swear THIS BOOK SAVED MY LIFE! no joke. I also honestly believe that this information is being suppressed by Big Pharma, the media, and others in order to get all the addicts who want to change in their pocket. Antidepressants are not the key. I went there. All drugs were originally derived from natural origins, so the all natural road to recovery seemed like a no brainer to me. I also went to a couple of acupuncture sessions that helped with the anxiety (which is a major factor in every addict’s life whether you can recognize it as that or not. I couldn’t)
    Anyways, I hope this info will be as helpful to someone else as it has been for me. I wish I could get this to Lisa from the movie. The reason for her repeated relapses is her inability to rebuild her brain’s chemical base, through the supplementation of the proper nutrients and amino acids. The information is just not widely circulated. Why do you think such a treatment that has been around for years, and proven effective is practically unheard of in North America? Or if it is brought up, is quickly dismissed as Quackery? I’ll tell you why. It’s because you can’t patent amino acids, Omega 3,6,9 fatty acids and various nutrients. We’re all being lied to and I’m not the real criminal here.
    So if you’re a dopefiend like me and want something better for yourself than jail and death, get the book. If you know someone else like me, get the book. It’s not a very easy read, pretty boring at times, as i’m sure any medical journal must be. There is also a recipe section at the back to give many ideas for nutrient rich, healthy meals that are so important during this time of struggle.
    Always remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. If you slip up, it doesn’t have to lead to full blown relapse. try again the next day. Every day sober is a small victory and should be viewed as such. One day at a time, and don’t beat up on yourself.
    P.S. I have also claimed that Pokerstars FREE poker saved my life, but in fact only helped me to fill up the days in my own self imposed rehab program. I also had a desire to change, as well as supportive parents without whom, I may not have been strong enough to break free.
    Good luck, If I can get clean, you can too!

  31. oceans says

    Really compelling film (yes, I watched the whole thing). My heart goes out to Lisa, her friends, and her family. Rare to see such an intimate picture, let alone as it’s happpening. I appreciate the hopefulness.

  32. Sherri says

    Thank you to Lisa for sharing your story. I appreciate the strength it took for you to reveal yourself to the general public. I hope and pray that you will be able to use that same inner strength to never, ever use drugs or alcohol again. Your story is the same as many other women before and there are sure to be many others in the future. I wonder how, when and where this similar story will no longer need to be told.
    I agree with Dr. Fitzgerald that addiction is filled with trauma. Not only does addiction start from trauma induced symptoms but it produces trauma for the addicted, everyone that loves that addict and for all people that addiction touches. I wonder about the children and society. We are spending billions on trying to uncover why? Is it because of the secrets, the head turning, the stigma, and the elephant in the living room as Lisa said? All of these parts make up the whole that is broken. In other words the system is broken not Lisa.
    I am grateful for you Lisa and believe you can be anything you desire to be.

  33. Holly Carmickle-Wilson says

    In short, this was intense to watch and even more intense knowing that lisa is not alone in her habit and life style. There are many more young girls and boys who are stuck and need something. I can’t even begin to believe what its like but I can bet that this is hard. Watching Lisa makes me scared about my own child and the influences that can ultimately change his outlook on his life and the life of others. Its so hard to pin the responsibility on one person or one group for that matter. Its true, what the above person said, “The system is broken not Lisa”. This goes as far as we can take it and will not change unless we improve our communities and support our people. There is much work to do. Good luck to anyone in the same situation as Lisa.

  34. bonnie broughton says

    there was a song at the end of the documentary with the lyrics that said dont ya look at me cause then your buggin me. sounded like bob marley. this song struck a cord with me but i am unable to fine it. could you kindly give me the name of the song and the artist. thank you

  35. says

    I have a friend who has a sister that has gone into a prgram for 12-18 months. I found this post top be very interesting and was hoping to watch the video associated with it. From the comments above, it seems I missed something very moving. I will be back to visit and hopefully, the video will also be here.

  36. AJF-wi12 says

    Dr Fitzgerald

    Seems like there is just as many ways to help, as there are ways to get hooked on drugs. From watching your videos and your lecture in our class I see the course you’re trying to head down. Individual assessment and treatment, not the cookie cutter approach with group therapy, but designated for an individual. I believe the good an individual patient approach can bring; making yourself available for them when they’re in dire need. Showing them how to break those relapse triggers because they know when they happen. I see the down side as well, but this is just from someone outside of a health major and not familiar with these methods from the counselors’ side so don’t be offended. An individual approach would take longer and make you less available to others. Plus, would it not take more of your time in and around the office?

    Understanding addiction, for me, is difficult because I wasn’t addicted to drugs, but of course that doesn’t exclude the use of OTC and alcoholic beverages. Addiction can take many forms, as you of course know…from actual substances taken to (what I believe) behavioral, attitudes and actions (PSTD). I’ll explain; I am a returning veteran from Iraq. I had my fair share of PSTD and related problems with this. Not the same as others I feel, no night sweats, no drugs use (excluding alcohol, I’ll get to that), no beating of my wife, family or dog. I coped with the fact I was in a bad place doing things I was suppose to do…another day at the work place, if you want to think of it like that. We didn’t get in the amount of trouble other units would, but I can tell you we did get our fair share of unwanted indirect fire, which made it a whole different hell (never knowing when the next one will drop).
    When we came back, my unit had more deaths and injuries (including families destroyed) than we had in Iraq. Behavioral differences were something we had to deal with. People not understanding why we were there, even family members questioning reasons we why we had to go. No worries were on my end, most of these situations just rolled off my back…or so I thought.
    I dealt with my experiences with drinking, heavily to binging, but ask anyone in the military and they’ll tell you the same thing. We had little to no counseling and lots of down time; more money in our bank accounts than we knew what to do with so we went out to do what we missed out on for the past year. What I hear these days from friends still in the service. The counseling has gotten better and more directed towards those that need it.
    My behavior around friends was nothing different. I got to choose the people I hung around. Their personalities mirrored mine, but when I’m around family my personality changes from one no different than Mr. Hyde. I’m not saying I tear off my clothes and go rampaging around the city hurting people, oh no, but I become short tempered, moody, ill mannered, quiet, irritable, snippy at times, complete opposite of what I am in public or to others. The sort of quick-tempered and short-fused people in my unit or service and whom I became accustomed to. I compensated with drinking, heavily, to keep that person at bay. I’m emotionally dull when it comes to being in person with my family. You will see this with many Veteran soldiers and service members returning, but this is normal for those who went through serious or life changing moments together. Now, I work with family members and when a job or task is needed. They like to give options on how either they or I would like it to be done, instead of the “just get it done” mentality of the military. Options are sometimes overrated.
    Hearing your speech about how you like to give a one on one approach and how each person is different and can’t be helped, at times, with group therapy made me think. If that would of worked for me…hearing those who were like me in the past would of made thing a little easier. I feel the trigger was and is my family, and that is why I mentioned earlier I think there are behavioral/emotional addictions because I have no idea why I do these things and it’s becoming a nasty habit…hope this all made sense.

  37. admin says

    It made sense to me. I greatly appreciate you taking the time to share your experiences in Iraq and at home. I will do my best to address the issues you raised in your feedback.

    With less than 10 percent of those struggling with addiction receiving help, it is not practical to believe that we can deliver individual treatment to all in need. Your feedback has helped me realize I need to clarify this section of my lecture – thank you. Instead, we must evolve a public health approach to the problem that includes a continuum of services, where individual therapy may be reserved for those with the greatest need. A recent journal article by Alan Kazdin (watch his video here) titled Rebooting Psychotherapy Research and Practice to Reduce the Burden of Mental Illness speaks to this issue.

    At the same time, an individualized approach to intervention still makes sense. Even if you share similar experiences with others (like your time in Iraq), we know that how you respond to those experiences is unique to you, and influenced by many factors including your genetics, early life experiences, coping skills, and degree of resiliency. As a result, intervention will be optimized when it is individualized for your needs.

    Drinking (as well as other addictions) are an adaptive response to what you and others have been through – extreme and abnormal life events. Such experiences are overwhelming, and for many, will lead to PTSD. Addictions are a way to self-medicate the symptoms and there should be no shame in seeing them for what they are. For those who avoid addiction, very often untreated PTSD leads to a life of more trauma, or what we call trauma reenactment. It is a painful life and can lead to many ongoing struggles with depression, anxiety relationships challenges, and sleep problems. Fortunately, treatment, when done right, can help immensely.

    Your experiences with your family (and others who have not experienced war in Iraq) also makes sense to me. To survive, you had to make split second decisions, life and death decisions, and spending time considering a list of options most likely would have gotten you killed. As you say, in the military you learn to act – just get it done – and act fast. Life is fairly black and white. But back home life is really many shades of gray. Intimate relationships are perhaps the best example of shades of gray, and it is not surprising that many who come back from Iraq report that relationships are among their most significant challenges. The relational skills that work in the military unfortunately don’t serve you well at home. Add to the mix untreated PTSD and addiction problems, and finding “normal” at home seems all but impossible. But it’s not. With the right kind of treatment it is possible to successfully deal with the PTSD symptoms, overcome addiction, and acquire the skills and developmental capacities necessary to succeed in relationships throughout life (marriage, work, school, raising kids). Remember, the primary theme running through my addiction talk is that addictions are about relationships. In many ways, PTSD is also about relationships.

    To recap, your reactions to war are a normal response to a very extreme and abnormal situation. Left untreated, PTSD and addiction will wreak havoc on your life. Treatment works when done right. The 5 Actions framework discussed in class and on this site, is what I believe to be the best way forward. Know that I am always available to chat about how best to implement it and thanks again for taking the time to write.

  38. Kristen Eckenrodt says

    I wanted to touch on Lisa’s relapse a little as I am trying to figure out what happens when addicts relapse. During the few times Lisa goes through detox and tries to get clean, she tends to return back to the lifestyle that she knows. I find it interesting after watching Dr. Childress’ clip that you linked about relapse that it is “not a failure of treatment, but it is part of the disorder.” She also states that these “chronic relapses” are just part of addiction.

    Personally, I found that as I was watching the video, I felt that I was really getting to know her and was starting to understand her story. Lisa had been involved in sex and drugs for so long that she had no idea how to get out of it. She was an addict and the only way to be able to afford her drugs was to sell her body. This is an all too common combination in our society. Women find it so easy to make money through sexual favors to support their drug habits. Just by viewing the video, I find that you see how Lisa feels a bit “stuck” in the risky lifestyle. She has found an easy way to get drugs and seemed to not have run into too many problems doing it. It seems that she had not really hit rock bottom as she was getting all her needs met, even if she was just scraping by and living in a hotel room.

    As I was viewing, I was concerned that she would not find the treatment she needed to get herself out of the mess successfully. It seems as though as she was a bit too comfortable with the choices she was making that there wasn’t anything powerful enough for her to want to get out of it. It was only towards the end of the film that I was starting to believe she would be able to get the treatment she needed and would be able to get on the right foot. From my knowledge on addiction, it is absolutely normal to relapse a number of times before successfully quitting. It was the changes in her brain that caused her to return to the drugs a number of times. I was happy that the documentary had a positive ending, as she seemed to find the help she needed to escape the emptiness of her chosen lifestyle for so many years. As this documentary is a few years old, I am curious if Lisa has continued the clean and sober life and what kind of treatment made it successful for her.

    Thank you for posting this video, as it has opened my eyes on the reality of this lifestyle of so many women. It is helpful to see the realities of addiction from someone’s own point of view. I’m sure this film will help encourage plenty of women to get clean and help them realize there are possibilities for them. Women should never feel stuck in a life like that.

  39. admin says

    I believe on the film makers website there is an update on Lisa, and I believe she is doing well these days :)


  40. Rita Nassif says

    Through addiction and treatment, I’ve found that those healthy relationships are what we ultimately need in order to heal. In this film, we saw her addiction take over the connection with her family. This film not only showed that Lisa wanted abstinence someday but her story was powerful. I found that this film can truly educate and help others whom have found themselves in similar situations. In her interviews, it was inspiration to see her open up her life speaking the truth of how cocaine and prostitution became more important than anything else in her life. I learned so much from this film as well as the blog. It has given me a new perspective on addition and treatment.

  41. Dat Huynh says

    Thank you for posting this video on your blog. To me, it was a sad story about Lisa, a drug addict, goes through treatments after treatments and tries to get clean. However, it was not easy for her. She tends to go back to her old ways. This documentary reminds me the book name “Tweak” by Nic Sheff. I think Lisa’s story and Nic’s story are similar in lots of ways. They are both addicted to heroin and cocaine. They go through many treatments. They both have support from families and friends but can stay sober for only a short time. In addition, even though they are different stories, at different places and ages, from the inner of their hearts, they still want to be healthy, contribute to the society, love their families and be like other people. Drugs take their lives away. Instead of spending time with family and friends, they have to spend time with different treatment programs.

    I think that their relapses are not totally the treatment program’s faults. To me, a 3-month program is not long enough. People stay sober for three month; but when they walk out of the center, there’s no guarantee. My suggestion is we can either increase the length of the treatment to a longer period of time or provide services to people after the treatment.

    The first plan is making the treatment longer. During that extra period of time, we can teach them skills to adapt to the outside environment such as a career. They also have more time to get connected to other people, and redefine their purpose in life.

    The second plan is providing services after treatments. Services to be provided are helping to find a job, housing services, classes, meetings and other services that help people to get connected. One thing I find out that really impacts the drug addict to stay away from relapsing is the environment that they are living. So we can make that environment for them. For instance, people after the treatments can stay in a same house. They go to work in the weekdays. On weekend, we have small meetings and activities that people get to know other people more, get bonding and encourage other to stay sober.

    Again, thank you for posting this documentary. It is an open-eye for me and other people too. Hope that people will watch this documentary, learn from Lisa and make their decision more carefully.

  42. Kelcie Toledo says

    Dr. Fitzgerald thanks for posting this documentary! I am in Debbie’s Drug education class at PSU and was enthusiastic to delve into your blog after hearing your lecture. “Cracked Not Broken” has enlightened me of how addiction is a true beast. I’m amazed that Lisa was willing to go through such depths like playing the game in order to sustain her high. It’s also interesting how the mind and body can relapse so easily after going through stages of recovery. In Debbie’s class I chose to do a reading assignment on the book, “Tweak” by Nic Sheff that provided first hand perspective of his addiction to crystal meth. Both Lisa’s and Nic’s experiences effectively support the importance of maintaining healthy intimate relationships. They both isolated themselves from reality to get lost in a fantasyland of risky unhealthy behaviors. They both illustrated the in depth struggles of relapsing and yet, even though they knew of the corruption the drug was causing them, they still gave in to using. I do think that “the system is broken, not Lisa” as stated in a couple comments above. Our society as a whole needs to work in sync to helping each other succeed. Both stories are powerful in making an impact on my life and I know that they will continue to do so. Thank you for posting this video and good luck to everyone in recovery.

  43. Dang Ha says

    Cracked Not Broken is such a powerful video because it shows what it’s like to spend a few hours with an addicted. It also shows the hardship that comes with being addicted. She was aware of everything she was doing but it didn’t seem to bother her at all. Lisa is such a bright woman but her addiction caused her to turn to selling her body so that she can supply her high. Turning to prostitution is such a dangerous thing but her addiction overrides any of that feeling. The part of the video that had me cringing the most was when I was watched her dig around for a vein that had not collapse. I know how hard it is to overcome addiction and I’m truly happy that Lisa is still clean and sober. I hope that she keeps it in her past and never turns back to it again. This story especially touched me because I grew up surrounded by drugs. Six of the eight young men I grew up with are currently serving time in state and federal prison. Not all are locked up because of drugs but I know that childhood drug use, particularly crystal meth, was a reason for the particular lifestyle. If only I knew how to help my friends or if only they were as strong as Lisa, they wouldn’t be where they are now.

  44. admin says

    Thanks for your feedback! Lisa’s video is very powerful, and moves me every time I watch it. I have yet to read Tweak, but will soon :)


  45. C says

    Update: May 2013 Lisa is doing great. Finished school and is getting married. All is good with her. She has and continues to work very hard at staying clean and sober

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