On the straight and narrow

Jerrilyn Schembri

Road to recovery

Dennis Daley says, “Recovery from addiction requires hard work, a proper attitude and learning skills to stay sober, not drinking alcohol or using other drugs. Successful drug recovery or alcohol recovery involves changing attitudes, acquiring knowledge, and developing skills to meet the many challenges of sobriety.” This quote speaks of a person who makes his or her recovery a priority.

I have a deep respect for people who have the strength of character to make this change in their life. On Saturday I received a text from Dana, a wonderful young man who grew up in Tumbler Ridge. Dana loved Tumbler Ridge and has many fond memories of the community, “Growing up in Tumbler Ridge was absolutely amazing, says Dana. “Tumbler Ridge was a wonderful home to my family and also the birthplace of my drug addiction and alcohol abuse. The addiction got really bad after I left Tumbler Ridge. I struggled for well over 10 years with the addiction.”

Last February, Dana posted the following on his Facebook: “It was a year ago today my life changed forever. Every day is a fight for me and every day I win. Some days are so hard but I fight through it. The feeling of being clean and sober and slowly having peace of mind is something that I cannot explain in words”

Saturday’s message reads: “There are no words to describe the feeling I have right now, I guess the closest I can come is absolutely amazing! Today marks two years since I made the decision to change my life and beat my drug and alcohol addiction. I have no problem telling my story; I have nothing to be ashamed of.

“Let me start off by saying my relationship with addiction is not the result of a single event, a lack of willpower, or a complete loss of moral values. An addiction is not simple to understand, it is a disease, and I mean disease in every sense of the word. It comes with many physical and psychological symptoms. In my case depression and addiction walked hand in hand and touched my life in too many ways to name, both in my personal life and in lives of those I care for.

“Many of us have lost people we love to addictions. It is something that takes over and controls a person’s life, often leaving them without hope or strength to face their problems.

“To the people out there who read this and need help but are not comfortable coming forward, please don’t be afraid. There is no shame in reaching out to someone or seeking out a program for help. I am so thankful I have amazing friends, family and co-workers that have stood by my side.”

Dana asked me to share this with you in hopes that it could inspire someone else in their journey towards recovery.

Jerrilyn Schembri is the former school-based youth worker and victim services program manager. She is currently Tumbler Ridge Chamber Manager.