The truth about addiction

Cade Ryan
By Cade Ryan September 29, 2017 12:00
 Mike Brown speaks on stage at the Truth About Addiction event that took place at the Olde Walkerville Theatre on Wyandotte Street East in Windsor. (Photo by Cade Ryan)

Mike Brown speaks on stage at the Truth About Addiction event that took place at the Olde Walkerville Theatre on Wyandotte Street East in Windsor. (Photo by Cade Ryan)

By Cade Ryan

 

People who recovered from addiction to drugs and alcohol had the opportunity to open up about the struggles they faced on their paths to recovery at an event last month.

 

The Truth About Addiction event, organized by Spiritual Soldiers, was held on Tuesday, Sept. 26, at the Olde Walkerville theatre.

 

The event ran from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and nearly 100 people attended. Host Mike Brown and speakers James Lucier, Bianca Oliviero and Chris Howe all spoke about their struggles with addiction and their paths to recovery. Brown was an addict for 20 years before seeking the help he needed. He is now two years sober and happier than he ever was.

 

“I was the problem not alcohol or drugs and I feel there is no reason to be ashamed of my past,” said Brown.

 

His struggle with drug addiction included crack cocaine and alcohol. He almost died during this time from an overdose and attempted suicide.

 

About a year and a half ago Mike Brown and Zane Atkin started the movement, known as Spiritual Soldiers. It is a clothing line that spreads awareness of addiction and shares a positive message. Spiritual Soldiers also holds events in Windsor and London. Patrick Thanalak took over as one of the leaders after Atkin died in April of 2017.

 

Lucier, another guest speaker who is eight months sober, said he struggled with addiction to cocaine, fentanyl and alcohol. Lucier said he got  addicted because it was the first thing that made him feel acceptance.

 

“I never felt equal to anyone else. For me to get that to go away I always acted out with an external thing,” said Lucier.

 

Oliviero had serious struggles during her addiction as well. She was using opiates such as Percocet, Oxycontin and Fentanyl as well as cocaine and alcohol. Oliviero was not eating much during her addiction and she said she lost about 100 pounds in a year.

 

 

The thing about addiction is it does not just affect the user. It takes a serious toll on the people around them.

 

“It was a family disease and they had to live through that sober. Everyday they would wonder what chaos would be coming into their lives,” said Oliviero.

 

Howe is now six years sober. Like the other addicts at the event, Howe found a momentary peace with his addiction.

 

“I found a temporary peace in alcohol and drugs. The first time I drank I blacked out and every time I would drink after that I couldn’t stop myself I  always drank to that point,” said Howe.

 

According to www.spirtualsoldiers.com, 1 in 5 Canadians suffer from addiction and about 11 per cent are able to get help through treatment. Spiritual Soldiers are trying to open people’s eyes to this problem. They have clothing such as hats, T-shirts and sweaters that can be purchased on their website.

Cade Ryan
By Cade Ryan September 29, 2017 12:00

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