Jen Cutting- Recover Loudly

Jen Cutting is a public speaker and she's also the founder of a wonderful organization called

Supplies for Life and she's doing some really amazing things in her community.

According to Jen, there’s no specific way of how Jen got into public speaking, she “literally just

kind of fell into it.” Her whole life, she’s been petrified of public speaking, it was never her

thing. And then lots of things changed in her life, she got sober, and started to find power in

telling her story. From there it kind of just blossomed and Jen fell in love with it. Jen feels

public speaking is “probably one of the most empowering things I’ve ever done in my life,”

counting it as being in the top three.

When Jen first started telling her story, it was sad, and primarily embarrassing. She was

embarrassed to say that this was her life or these are the things that happened to her. But then

that shifted, and it was just sad; Jen remembers always being really sad and crying while telling

her story. And then it shifted again for her, and public speaking and telling her story became

empowering, “a prideful moment maybe, if you will, because it was the story of what happened

and now I’m here telling it. Because it is no longer happening, but it’s now becoming

steppingstones for someone else to no longer be embarrassed and sad.” Jen finds it powerful

when you can say, “This is where I started, this is how I fell down, this is how I got back up, and

this is how I’m changing still everyday – learning, moving, becoming who I’m supposed to be

and evolving.”

Jen went on to talk about starting Supplies for Life. She had no idea COVID was going to

happen. She was working in an agency that claimed to support people going through rehab and

re-entry and all that, and she felt it was BS. Jen “got sick and tired of having people come home

from incarceration, rehab, mental institutions, etc. going to our local Delaware County shelter

with nothing. Or putting people in rehab.” She shared that at this pivotal point in their life

where people are going to try and change their life for the better, to be the people that they’re

capable of and supposed to be, there are women who are getting their menstruation cycle and

not having anything; no toothpaste for people, no clean undergarments, no soap, no

deodorant. Jen shared that “we act like they’re asking for these great things, like they have

these high expectations because they want toothpaste.” Jen shared, “I don’t know how you’re

supposed to bury your soul and heal from all this past trauma when you don’t open your mouth

to speak because you haven’t brushed your teeth in a month.”

Jen shared from personal experience as a female, when she came home from incarceration,

because she came home broke she lived in a shelter in Delhi, she got her period two days later,

and couldn’t leave because she had no way to care for herself. Jen started an Amazon Wish

List, where she put down all types of things “like these little nylon backpacks." And she would

shove these bags full of items she found on clearance at the Family Dollar store, and she would

just give them to her people as they were going to rehab or coming home from prison or rehab

or whatnot. After about a year or so of doing this, Jen started a YouTube channel titled

YouTube channel, and she did a video called GO bags, because that’s what she started calling

the bags she made. According to Jen, “the amazing community that I have on YouTube that

they’re like family and friends. I know it sounds crazy to say, but these individuals are amazing

people and I cherish every single one of them. They bought my wish list out like seven times, to

the point that the post office was like, you have to come pick up your own packages because

we don’t have a truck big enough to deliver all your supplies.” From here, Supplies for Life just

continued to grow. Jen now has her own office, which has “slowly but surely taken over.”

Jen works with individuals in the community who are experiencing homelessness, domestic

violence, substance abuse. She works with a lot of parents, and has parenting supplies like

diapers, wipes, things like that. She is “just really grateful and blessed that I’m able to do work

in the community where I once was.”

Jen’s YouTube channel, with a following of roughly a little under 15,000, is “really a variety.”

It’s about harm reduction, recovery, sobriety, the things she has gone through in her personal

journey. She lost custody of her daughter and documented her entire fight from start to finish.

She documented her fear of going back into the court system after being in it for criminal things

and family things. She documented going through the custody battle. She documented her

daughter coming home and their life now. Basically, she documents the trials and tribulations

of being a woman in recovery trying to be a professional, but also trying to navigate and

balance being a mom, a wife, a human being, an activist, an advocate. She really promotes,

“you know, we talk about prison, we talk about addiction, we talk about substances, because

that is part of who I am in my story.” But, as Jen noted, “that’s not the gist of my content; my

content is really about life after addiction.”

Something must be going right with her YouTube channel, because there are some who have

been with her from the very first video, and Jen “love[s] them all and I know them by name, I

know their kids. We talk, they’ve become like my circle. They become part of my tribe” and

when she has an issue or a problem, there’s where she goes. Jen feels it’s crazy, because the

people that are from around the world are so incredibly kind and supportive and amazing. She

has found it’s usually the local people that are bitter, usually people well-related to her

husband and herself unfortunately are bitter and sour because they don’t understand. Jen

shared, “unfortunately, that’s just par for the course.” She guesses “some people just have

smaller closed minds than others.”

Jen’s work that she has been doing with Supplies for Life in her YouTube channel has

tremendously impacted her own journey of recovery. As she put it, “First off, it’s literally giving

me a safe place to be able to vent and talk and explain and be a part of, because as much as my

subscribers are a part of my community, I’m a part of their community.” It gives a support

system all the way around. She has subscribers who became friends, who will call her up or

message her to see if she is okay, asking “you seem off, are you alright?” It has helped her

through that.

Supplies for Life has also helped Jenn because it has given her a purpose and a job. It keeps

everything fresh for her, because a lot of the people she works with and she helps are people

she sold drugs to, bought drugs from, lived a drug lifestyle with, used with, partied with,

“however you want to put it.” For them, and for her, it’s a full circle. According to Jen, “the

reason why people in AA and whatever meeting you go to that helps you stay sober, service

work is not just for the people you’re serving, it’s also for you. You can’t keep what you don’t

give away.”

Jen went on to say, “If you’re so greedy to keep everything that you have for you, it becomes

toxic after a while. I think for me, going back to the same places and being on a different

chapter, because I’ll never be on the other side of it completely. I will always be an addict, I will

die an addict. I am just blessed that right now my disease is in the remission part of its cycle.

That can change at any point in time. Rent is due every day, and this is my rent, this is what I

do, this is what I give back to my community. This is what keeps it fresh for me and shows me

how I never want to live my life again. But this also shows my child and my loved ones, this is

we don’t.” This is the main principle of harm reduction for Jen, meeting people where they’re

at, but also not leaving them behind.

Jen is meeting people where they’re at with Supplies for Life. She’s not leaving them behind.

She’s going and interacting with them, they’re communicating and setting goals. And this also

helps her live a stable, sober life.

Leslie asked Jen how Jen is received now on this side of things, offering help and support.

Jen responded, “There are times they don't like something that I have to say because it doesn't

fit for what they want or what they want to do.” She’s had people that told her where to go, or

whatever, and after a few weeks or months the person then apologizes to Jen who responds “I

get it, I get it, it’s okay.” Jen has one person, George, that she’s worked with for a very long

time, “and he and I have gotten into it numerous times. He’s like family to me, I absolutely love

him and his entire family. My husband and him have a relationship, they were in school

together and everything. We joke around about it on [my YouTube] channel. He basically told

me to go after myself a couple times and I was like, okay. And when he was ready, he was like

I’m sorry and I’m like, I know, I know.” It is what it is for Je, who knows what it’s like being

there. For the most part, Jen noted that people are always extremely grateful that she’s there,

extremely happy for the support and the love. Jen thinks the people have come to know that

they can count on her. She’s gone above and beyond for most of “my people” as much as she

possibly can. She gets very attached to the people that she’s working with because she gets

It. On a very personal level she gets it. She knows what it is like to be overlooked, unloved,

looked over, ignored, pacified, judged, all of that. She feels “it takes one to know one, that’s

why the peer movement is such a powerful movement, because life experience.”

As Jen put it, “I could read books all day long about flying helicopters and have a generalized

idea of what it means to fly one. But at the end of the day I have no clue what it feels like

because I’ve never participated in it. Same thing, you can’t tell me that you go to school and get

your degrees and whatever and you understand what I’m feeling. You can’t possibly understand

what I’m feeling from behind that desk unless you’ve walked those shoes yourself and

experienced homelessness, domestic violence, substance use on a personal, physical level. You

can sympathize, you can support, but you don’t know. How do you cope with appointments

when working with individuals who aren’t ready yet, or have fallen down again … I cry a lot, and

I just keep going. I have to say to myself, and this is very difficult because I’m clerk in a surf Bob

and what that means is I’m an advocate and a coach. I’m certified, whatever, call that fancy

stuff. Basically what that means is I am to walk alongside you on your path, so even though I

can see that ginormous hole in front of you and I want to push you to walk around that, if you

choose to fall in it again that is your choice, that is your life, it is your decision. It is my job to do

what you need me to do, and just support you. Sometimes it’s very difficult. Like I said earlier, I

genuinely fall in love with every single person I work with. Every single person gets a piece of

my heart, it’s just who I am as a person. It hurts me when I watch them fail, but my job is to

walk alongside them. I know for me the only way I learned was going through it. Everybody and

their mama could just claim don’t go there, don’t go that way, don’t do this, and I wouldn’t

have heard them. Everybody’s experience is to themselves. I cry a lot, especially when it’s a

fatal mistake, but I just keep going because I know it took me a very long time to get on the

path that I’m currently on. Some days are better than others.”

Jen’s greatest accomplishment in her life on this path, on this journey, is fighting for four years

to get her daughter back, and getting full custody without even stepping into the courtroom

after eight long grueling months of paperwork and preparing to go to trial. In the work that she

does, Jen can’t identify one greatest accomplishment, she would say all of it.” Thursday,

October 27, , 2022 was her five year sober birthday; five years ago she was still an active addict

who was an inmate in the Delaware County Jail. Now she works alongside of the people who

arrested her, everyone who didn’t believe in her or thought she could never accomplish

anything besides being an active addict. She now gets to sit down across the table from them

for something for work, or they have to call her to ask her for advice on how to better help

somebody – she was the one who was never going to make it.

The complete opposite of addiction is connectivity for Jen. “When we are active we are

isolating, we are by ourselves with our one or two using buddies or significant other. For me,

my husband and I were active addicts together, and now we’re sober together. The complete

opposite of addiction is connection, so you can’t go through these horrible things in life by

yourself and then recover by yourself. I’m sure if you were locked on an island somewhere you

could, but nobody wants to go through all this to be a lone or not have support or not be with

anyone. I just feel like we go through all of this and the traumas that we’ve suffered. No one

wakes up and says hey I want to be an addict today and ruin my life and go through all this pain

and horrible stuff or whatever. It happens because of traumas, sexual assaults, genetics, the list

goes on and on. They’re all really heavy horrible things that get us to this point. To have to stop

doing what makes you feel better, which is the drugs. Let’s face it, they do make us feel better,

that’s why we do them. To have to unpack all that heavy painful stuff that we’ve gone through

in the past to become a better person, that’s why when I hear people say oh my God, druggies

– they’re so weak, they’re just such weak people, it makes me want to throat punch people.

That is the complete opposite. We are actually the most strongest, capable, amazing, creative,

talented people I have ever met in my life. We go through these horrific events in life and we

still keep going, and then we run into these brick walls of our addiction because of the trauma

that we’re still trudging through. And then we bare it all for complete strangers, usually change

our entire lives to become better people, and then nine times out of ten usually turn out to be

people who devote our lives to helping others get through the hell we just walked through. But

we are not good people, we are as weak as can be, and we just suck and we shouldn’t get

anything in life.”

Leslie shared that addiction has touched her life, and she thinks the more people start to talk

about it, and “pull their head out of their ass, they’re gonna see that literally nobody can escape

this right now. Like that whole six degrees of separation.”

Jen agreed. Addiction exists to some degree, whether it’s drugs, alcohol, food, gambling,

emotional, sex, whatever. She shared that it’s prevalent and “the only way that we’re ever

going to beat it as a society to the degree of where we’re at now, where it’s so bad to talk

about it is to support each other, and to realize that nobody is above it, absolutely nobody. I

don’t care what kind of an upbringing you have, how many letters there are after your name,

how many digits are in your paycheck.” Jen went on to say, “We’ve ignored it for so long. As a

society we have walked around like don’t look at it, if we don’t look at it it’s not there.

Fortunately anytime there was any type of evil in anything, and you leave it alone in the dark,

the darkness allows it to grow and get out of control because you’re not looking at it so you

don’t see it until bam it smacks you in the face and you can no longer keep that dirty little

secret in the dark any longer.”

Jen always says “that’s how the devil gets in the darkness. You leave a little crack and you just

let it go, let it go, let it go, let it go. And that’s what we’ve been doing with addiction for so

long.” COVID, as horrible as it was, was also a blessing in disguise for certain things. It allowed

things like telemedicine and prescriptions. COVID opened up an entire world of health care that

never was there before. It allowed people who were too embarrassed, too stigmatized, too

judged, too alone, to be able to finally get some help that they needed from the privacy of their

own home, from behind the technology.

Jen observed, “the more we ignore stuff, how’s that worked out in the past.” This is affecting

the entire world. And then you have these people who don’t know what they’re talking about

trying to pretend they’re an authority on something, trying to fear-monger society by saying

people are putting drugs, “like these crazy Halloween posts I see all over the place. That makes

me want to pull my hair out of my head. And I get it, I’m a parent too. This shit’s scary. I get it,

but let’s be rational. Let’s use our intelligent minds. Let’s have an open conversation that

doesn’t have a bunch of judgment and stigma clouding our views. Let’s be realistic. Drugs are

expensive, drugs are hard to find. People are not giving out free drugs to children that they

don’t know, that they don’t care about, that they have no connection, when they can barely

afford to get their own. Let’s be realistic about that. People aren’t even giving out free pot

seeds because things are expensive. The society is struggling as a whole with everything.

Nobody’s giving out drugs for free.”

The drugs available today are not the same as a decade ago. They’re trash, and that, according

to Jen, is part of the problem. They’re not the same drugs that they were. They’re the same

names, but the structural makeup of the drugs is no longer the same. Everything is fake,

processed, man-made. There’s no real oomph behind the drugs, so people are jacking up the

prices to make it even more crazy. People are buying more in order to try and be able to obtain

the same type of high, but when it’s fake stuff, like processed sugar and real sugar, you’re

constantly using more processed sugar to get the same place you would with regular sugar, but

it’s harder to obtain and you’re spending more money. That’s literally what’s happening, the

drugs back in the day when heroin was actually heroin, meth was actually meth are no longer

around. Now it’s street made crap unless you “got a really good hook” you don’t really even get

heroin in your heroin anymore, you basically just get fentanyl. Everything is basically fentanyl.

Leslie asked Jen for any advice she has for parents with children, or really anyone with loved

ones struggling with addiction. Jen responded, “I guess we could have a whole thing on that. As

a parent, I have a child who saw my addiction, literally went through my addiction with me

unfortunately. I feel like because of that it has opened up a lot of conversation that might not

have been. My daughter knows what Narcan is, she knows how to use it. She understands that

drug addiction, being an addict, is not a crime, that being an addict does not make you a bad


Jen feels that we are so gung-ho to shove down people’s throats that drug addicts are bad

people. And Jen does not agree with this. As Jen stated, “they’re people who are sick with a

disease. You wouldn’t treat somebody with cancer and ask them why they were so weak and

why they couldn’t just stop, because it’s a disease inside your body. You can’t just stop. It

doesn’t work that way. We are not the all-powerful and can just make our diseases stop.”

Just stop with the tough love Jen shared. She doesn’t even know why that was ever a thing.

Tough love kept her an active addict for over a decade. She knew “I was being a shitty human. I

knew I was messing up. I knew I was doing bad things. I couldn’t help myself and I didn’t know

how to not. And because I always felt like the people that were supposed to care about me

hated me, were mad at me, didn’t want anything to do with me, it kept me sick that much

longer. It kept me away from the people that potentially could possibly steer me in the right

direction, that were supposed to love me. As addicts, as human beings, we are our own worst

critics. We pick apart and analyze everything that is happening in our lives before someone else

can. That’s what affects our self-esteem, our mental health, all of that. When you’re an active

addict, that’s like a bazillion times more, it just plays on repeat in your head constantly – the

feelings of inadequacy, the feelings of disapproval and let down and disgust and despair and

depression and all the ugly feelings in the world. You walk around with it inside yourself 24/7.

So when you go to the one person that you truly want to love you and they just berate you and

berate you and berate you, it feeds your disease, it helps the addict behaviors stay alive.”

Jen urges everyone, “If your child is suffering, your significant other, your loved one, find

someone like me, my information is all over the Internet. Reach out. Find a recovery coach,

find a therapist that you can sit down and talk to and get advice on how to sit down with your

loved one and how to help them. There are many things that you can do, there’s many ways

you can approach a conversation. You can sit down with your child and say what’s up with you,

please don’t tell me nothing’s wrong, respect enough that I’m your parent and I can see

something is wrong, what can I do to help, what are you struggling with. If you don’t want to

talk to me, can I give you some names and numbers, can you talk to these people. There’s tons

of Facebook groups, there’s tons of amazing informative Tik Toks out there, let’s go on

YouTube. Nowadays with social media, you have a support system at your fingertips. Do not be

afraid to use it. It literally can save someone’s life.”

Especially since we have such instant access to people on the different forms of social media,

the group is big enough there should always be somebody there no matter what time of day or

day of the week.

Unfortunately it often feels like we focus on the negative because there's so much of it. Jen

feels like joining with Moxxi Women’s Foundation to bring a chapter to Delaware County is

going to be a beautiful way to start focusing on more positive and supporting women because

let's face it we make the world go round absolutely every day.

Jen shared that “one of the perks of doing this is traveling and I usually try and take my

daughter with me.” In June they went to Arizona and are part of a new series for the new

Arizona Health Alliance Committee out there called Substance Use and Motherhood. “I got to

see some of it the other day, and even though I knew what was said, watching my daughter

speak on film and stuff I was a sobbing baby.”

60 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All