Raised in a fundamentalist religious community, Anena Hansen left the church in her mid-20s, got married, got divorced, and ran away to Africa. In Nairobi she bluffed her way into a corporate sales job, wrote, and eventually found her niche in female entrepreneurism. Her highlight was spending five years a trustee of the Kenyan chapter of New Faces, New Voices, the organization for female financial inclusion run by Nelson Mandela’s widow Graca Machel. During her years abroad, Anena lived in active alcoholism, chased monkeys out of the kitchen, adopted a baby, and once fell down a flight of stairs in front of a regiment of South Sudanese soldiers. After eleven years in Kenya, she moved home with her daughter to New Hampshire.
Sober since 2016, Anena now works as the Employer Services Coordinator for Reality Check in Jaffrey, promoting Recovery Friendly Workplaces around the greater Monadnock region. Since losing her life partner to a relapse, she has become passionate about legislating better services for addiction and recovery, and she volunteers extensively with advocacy organizations focused on improving addiction-related policies at state and federal levels.