Dear friends and family,
It is with a peaceful heart that I announce that on January 1, I will be saying good-bye to my advocacy work, and hello to the next chapter of my life. After five years of complete dedication to the cause, it is time. I am looking forward to a slower pace in life and just enjoying all that life has to offer.
I started my journey to advocacy in 2011 when I began to get educated about addiction and joined the newly formed committee called “Island Addiction Movement”. At that time, I never could have imagined where this was going to take me. It has been an incredible journey that has forever changed who I am in some really good ways. I am much stronger and confident now because I know what I’m capable of. I also don’t sweat the small stuff. These are all good things.
My advocacy work kept me very busy on top of working my full-time job and, of course, being there for my beautiful family. But, I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. I was doing exactly what I was meant to be doing. I knew that with every ounce of my being.
I have been healed for four years now, and my son is over two years into his healing and recovery. We are blessed and grateful. It is time to move on and enjoy our lives free from addiction, knowing that we helped in some way to make the journey a little less hard for others who came, or will come, after us. While the system is still not perfect, it is much better than it was when our son reached out for help years ago. We have done what we set out to do.
Through tears and smiles, I took a walk down memory lane by creating a summary of my advocacy work so that I would have something to look back on. I am so glad that I did that because I had already forgotten about some things. I am posting it on my blog to share with anyone who is interested in the hopes that it will inspire others to find their voices, even in a small way. If you do find yours, I guarantee that you will not only empower yourself, but you will empower so many others, too.
I am proud of what I’ve accomplished and I have no regrets. Every time I penned a letter, walked up to a podium, researched addiction, or something else, I did it with love and compassion, wanting nothing more than to help people who were hurting. I would regularly ask God to give me guidance on what He wanted me to do next, if this was indeed what He wanted me to be doing. Needless to say, He kept me busy!
I could not have accomplished any of it without the support of my loving husband and beautiful children and granddaughter. However, I owe the biggest thanks to my son because none of this would have been possible without his permission to share parts of his life with you. He is my hero.
I am so grateful for the friends that I made along the way, and for the people who trusted me with their deepest secrets and worst fears when they reached out to me for help.
I am also thankful for people like Karen Mair from CBC who was always so supportive and had us on her show to talk about things that we were doing, and Jim Day from the Guardian who was the first reporter that I spoke to when our family went public and he was so kind to this nervous mom.
I am grateful for those of you who followed my work by visiting my blog, sharing my posts, and so on, and to those of you who invited me to be part of your events.
Thank you all! I reached people because of YOU!
Although, I am no longer going to be involved with addiction and advocacy, many of the things I was involved with will continue. Roni Power will continue to be an admin on our various Facebook groups, including the Island Addiction Movement. Our fantastic SMART Recovery team will continue on with the meetings, and Roni will continue to run the family support group that we started together.
I will continue to co-chair our SMART Recovery family & friends group and post daily on my blog and Facebook pages until December 31st. I may post on my blog from time to time in the future, if something inspires me to do so. Please be sure to bookmark or follow my blog so that you will receive any new posts.
In closing, I would like to ask Premier Wade MacLauchlan, Health Minister Doug Currie, and others in government to incorporate the recommendations that the Mental Health and Addictions Advisory Council will be putting before them at some point. As a member of the Advisory Council, I worked hard and I know that the others at the table did as well. Please don’t let the document collect dust. This issue is too important to the lives of all Islanders (whether they realize it right now or not).
Thank you all for everything.
Much love and peace,
PS: Here is the link to my SUMMARY OF ADVOCACY.
PS: Here is the link to my SUMMARY OF ADVOCACY.