My name is Jamie.

At first impression, most can tell that I am a simple minded, 31 year-old woman and mother, who loves nothing more than spending time with friends and family that love and support me through and through. It is clear to see that I am a productive member of society and have respect and love for those around me.
But I am also a convicted felon. I had my child removed from my custody by the state of California. I am a survivor of sexual abuse and an abuser of many substances. Most importantly, I am a grateful recovering addict.

My life started out pretty typical.

My upper/middle class family lived in a brand new suburban “cookie cutter” neighborhood, with HOA fees that were through the roof. I played high school and club sports. I took music, art, and dance classes. My parents have been married for 38 years. So many people can only dream of the life I was born into.

But I knew I was different.

With my addiction first showing face as an eating disorder in high school, my life took a turn I never expected. After being threatened to be sent to boarding school when I was 16 years-old, I attempted to change my ways and fight my battle with anorexia. But my appearance was not the only thing I was self conscious about. I felt I would never live up to the expectations of my family, nor did I want to. I wanted a life of my own. So I packed my things and moved out of state a couple years after high school. In Arizona, my eating disorder took another unexpected turn. I gained 50+ pounds in a matter of months. Loneliness was a trigger for my addiction.
After moving back home when things got complicated, I had an opportunity to start fresh in my hometown. I quickly made some new friends, and felt some confidence in myself for the first time. It is with these friends that I took my first drug. Little did I know, these new friends were not an improvement to my previously pathetic lifestyle, but more of a segue from one addiction to another. I soon discovered meth—a drug that not only made me feel alive, but allowed me to go days without eating and still function (somewhat) in society. This was a new way for me to hide my eating disorder.

What I saw as a brand new life was the start of a major downward spiral.

Before I knew it, I was sleeping in my car, 3 months pregnant, experiencing withdrawal symptoms after quitting a five year meth binge cold turkey. My daughter is my hero for getting me clean, but I failed to stay clean. After fighting a fight I was destined to lose, CPS intervened and took custody of my baby girl.
In the midst of my troubles, I got a tattoo of a dragon fruit flower. These flowers blossom one time in their lives, at night. They then die, but the blossom becomes the most delicious fruit. I think this means that we can become our most beautiful in our darkest times.
I never thought I would complete the trek to regain custody and regain myself. But thanks to a nudge from the judge and a network of friends in recovery, I have found my home.

I soon realized that getting clean was the easy part.

My biggest struggle would be facing life on life’s terms. At almost three years clean, the love of my life and the father of my children was hospitalized with undiagnosed AIDS. He was my using buddy and my partner in crime. After a 65 day coma, he miraculously pulled through, and is still here to tell his story. Times like these remind me that life is unexpected. The most important tools I have learned throughout my journey are to live in acceptance of myself, others, and the world around me—to live an honest and humbled life.
I had to fight for the person I know I am inside, when no one could see that person but me. Now I have a family of my own where I know I truly fit in. I feel more love from others than I ever have. And I have more love to give others than ever before. I have a job that supports my family and important people who trust me. And I have the opportunity to share my story with others who might need help. I will spend the rest of my life helping and loving others with a hope that others will do the same.

Jamie shares the full experience of her journey from rock bottom to a life of love and wholeness in her newly published book. She writes under the pseudonym Wendy Lutz, and has changed all other names in the memoir as well. The memoir, entitled Dragon Fruit Flower: My journey through addiction to wholeness, is available for purchase on Amazon.

For addiction reading resources, check out this list of publications that can help guide you through addiction recovery.


My name is Jamie Lyons, but Wendy Lutz is the pseudonym I use in my memoir "Dragon Fruit Flower: My journey through addiction to wholeness." It is my greatest hope to be able to reach addicts all over the world with my story. I live a life I am proud of, with two beautiful babies, and a man who treats me right. Coming from the depths of my addiction, I want you to know that anything is possible and that we are all here to help and love each other.


  1. I’m so happy to hear how people can live a more humble life and the love and support they have. In my recovery,I’m finally getting the help I need, I’m coming up on three months clean my drug of choice was cocaine. Congrats you all.

  2. LadyAnn Elizabeth Graham-Gilreath Reply

    Another horror story that is turned around by the perseverance and determination to change and become the best version of ourself.

  3. Hi everyone! Jamie here! I just want to thank you all for reading my story. It means the world to me.

  4. Thank you for sharing your story Jamie!! It’s very inspiring and gives hope to not only me but many others!!!!

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