WATCH: September is recovery month across Canada. Today, many in Victoria marked the occasion in Centennial square. making a safe space for anyone who wants to recover from drug addiction. As Luisa Alvarez tells us, it was also a chance for one woman to share her story.
Barba Vix is a very proud fifty-three-year old.
“I say that because I never thought I would live to see 25 ever,” said Vix.
Vix started using substances when she was just ten years old but has now been sober and in recovery for twenty-six years. She said it hasn’t been easy but for anyone doubting she’s proof it can be done.
“I put a lot of effort into doing what I thought would straighten myself out and after exhausting all of those things once I reached out to people in the twelve step program they were there for me they gave me a hug, they loved me until I could love myself,” said Vix.
While the twelve step program that worked for her but everyone’s journey and how they start it is different. That’s why Sunday to celebrate Recovery Day Centennial square transformed into a safe space to engage and support those seeking help and educating others to end the stigma.
Addictions Councillor Dr. Kenneth Kunz says addiction is the most under-recognized human illness.
“And ironically its the most treatable of all human conditions,” said Dr. Kunz.
Advocate for ‘Moms Stop The Harm’ Jennifer Howard says the stigma contributes to a lot of deaths.
“I lost my son Robbie in the privacy of his home because of the shame and stigma related to drug use and those are things we want to see changed,” said Howard.
The event was a celebration of people who have chosen recovery while recognizing many others are still struggling.
Whether they are grappling with substance abuse, mental health problems, or homelessness there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Event organizer Michelle Chase says its important to make sure they know help is available.
“If you’re suffering from addiction you can get help and you can recover and you can be integrated into society and have connection and meaning and live a joyful life,” said Dr. Kunz.
And Chase is another survivor that can attest to that.
“People that struggling with some of these issues are not losers they aren’t bums they aren’t awful. We all have a story I was on the other side of the fence accessing a majority of the services we have here now and recovery can happen,” said Chase.
For someone, it could be as simple as a pamphlet, a book, or a conversation that guides them into choosing the path of recovery.
“Not everyone chooses recovery it’s a lifestyle,” said Chase.