Recovering addicts share their stories

CHEK
Watch Addicts who grew up or spent time in the Oceanside area will be speaking to the public Thursday evening at 7pm at the Parksville Community Centre.

Their stories are a disturbing tale of lives gone wrong and paint a picture of how drug addiction can happen to anyone.

“You know it’s a story that not a lot of people think about, I came from a good family,” said recovering addict Cameron Sosa.

“I was 13 -years-old when I tried my first drug,” said Ziera Vandenberg-Whalen, also a recovering addict.

“I first used when I was 11,” said Samantha Foster who just got out of treatment September 19th.

“My addiction took me down to Main and Hastings,” said Kelley Morris. “I was working at the ‘Pen’ and I am a survivor of Robert Picton.”

Morris has not used drugs in over four years.

Their addiction of choice ranged from cocaine to alcohol and everything in between.

Two of the women who we interviewed Sunday have spent part of their lives on East Hastings Street in Vancouver, Kelly and Ziera.

Zeira ended up there with her drug addicted mother. Cameron never had to leave Parksville.

“You know at the end of my addiction I was sleeping under the orange bridge in Parksville waiting for the liquor store to open,” said Sosa.

“And little did I know after I tried that first drug that there would be years of searching and soul suffering because of it,” added Vandenberg-Whalen.

And the things they had to do to get those drugs still haunt them today.

“I scammed a lot of people for a lot of money, did a lot of things, was in gangs,” said Morris.

“I paid for my addiction by conning people and me selling myself,” said Foster.

Today they are laughing and smiling, recovering and free of their addictions, finding support in new friends just like themselves.

“Drugs destroyed my family and they also gave me a new family that I found in recovery,” added Vandenberg-Whalen.

This Thursday evening they’re speaking publicly at the Parksville Community Centre, hoping to tell their story and spread the word that there really is hope for addicts, they just need the right treatment.

“And they need to get their voices heard in the public that we do recover if we have the help and the help is residential treatment, detox, outside programs that help us and recovering addicts working with addicts,” said Morris.

The program begins at 7 o’clock on Thursday evening.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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