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Luna led a class with women in recovery last summer. She brought this trunk to represent the weight of their addiction. The women were asked to bring an object they wanted to “unpack.” Luna says the result is “the story of why they started using and the anxiety of life in recovery.” (Photo by Maranie Rae Staab/PublicSource)

An interview and re-telling of Luna’s experience as a Pittsburgh methadone clinic worker. Luna believes heroin addiction to be a generational disease only worsened by incarceration.

Luna approaches people with a childlike wonder. She is small, packed with excitement. She flits around a room talking with her hands and giggling. She often speaks in metaphors and asks you questions most people would be afraid to ask. Or she says something that sounds like it was lifted from a fairytale: Are all of us witches? But, beyond all this candor is a quiet knowing.

On her wedding day, she parted from her family and friends, grabbed a shovel and dug a hole on the shore of Lake Erie. She buried an empty plastic dope bag, a letter from another woman’s abusive ex-husband, a journal detailing an eating disorder and other objects once owned by addicted mothers. Luna had asked these women to unburden themselves as a project in a creative writing class for women who are in recovery. Luna was their teacher. She told them: Give me an item you wish to unpack. Something you’ve been carrying for a long time. Something that represents a burden you no longer wish to bear. And on the day Luna decided to start a new life, she carried those objects from Pittsburgh to Lake Erie and put them to rest.



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