People battling addiction deserve get-well cards too!
The #addictiongetwellcards call-to-action is dedicated to changing the way we look at addiction. Some see addiction as a choice and that causes many people battling addiction to be abandoned by family and friends, and feel isolated from their community. Some people believe that these individuals can “just stop”! That is not the case. Addiction is a disease with deeply rooted causes and requires treatment like any other disease.
As a recovering addict myself I am friends with many other recovering addicts, and I have seen the hurt and confusion in so many people’s eyes when they are made to feel less than other members of society because they battle addiction. Some people roll their eyes and act disgusted when they see someone who is living on the streets or not able to work or care for their family because they are consumed by the hell of this disease. Everyone deserves treatment for addiction, but we are still in need of government funding to provide this for everyone – Ontario’s Bill 116 is a great start to this effort! In the meantime, everyone battling addiction deserves a get-well card.
All you need is some craft supplies and a desire to open up the dialogue about addiction in your classroom to participate in this mission! Sharing experiences and beliefs will breakdown the walls of addiction stigma.
After you make the cards, deliver them to your local detox centre, addiction treatment centre or hospital mental health department. You will truly help people know that they are worthy of wellness too! Their card may be the ONLY piece of support they receive from the community. You can save a life and change the way our children view addiction by participating in this simple activity.
Add the hashtag #addictiongetwellcards to your social media posts about this activity. Spread the word! The more cards the better! Thank you.
Lots of people ask me what they can do to help with the opioid and addiction crisis? They feel like it is too big of a problem for them to make a positive impact on. They see and share the pictures of needles on our city streets and say that not enough is being done … and then do nothing themselves. I totally feel their frustration. And I believe that education is the key to empowerment and change.
Information you may not have yet:
Big changes are happening at the city level to address this crisis – many of which are behind the scenes at this time; and some will forever be behind the scenes for confidentiality reasons. Big changes take time, money, resources, policy changes, government and service buy-in, innovation, and … many actions to occur.
But small changes ALSO lead to big changes. And YOU can be a part of those small changes. Today. Here are some suggestions:
carry naloxone with you;
participate in the #addictiongetwellcards initiative;
have conversations with your family and friends about mental health and addiction so that stigma breaks down;
volunteer at one of the many social service providers in our city;
change conversations you may hear that contain incorrect stigma-filled dialogue to conversations of positivity and hope;
tell someone who you know is battling with addiction that you care about them and are there for them; and
write to your government leaders and share how important you feel legislation is that provides everyone with mental illness and addiction treatment. (For example: Bill 116)
You never know who you will impact with your story.
Not only does talking about your experiences let stigma fall away from you, it inspires others to do the same. It has a ripple effect of healing and support. It stretches farther than you may ever know.
I will never forget watching TV six years ago and seeing Clara Hughes share her story on Bell Let’s Talk Day, and suddenly everything I saw negatively in myself changed. It didn’t instantly change to positive, but it changed to hope. And slowly, over time, my words set me free.
Amber Kelly, you may never know the positive impact you had on that audience; but I can assure you, you made a difference. You started your own ripple effect of healing and support. I am honoured to have been there in spirit. I’m so proud of you. Keep going girl 💗
I have about 100 cousins; I know that my grandma knows the exact number – it’s impressive! I guess having 11 kids will do that. I always loved having so many cousins. Growing up in a big family with all of them made Christmas’ and camping trips filled with loud laughter and lots of treats. The memories I have of these times are priceless. Sometimes I wish I could go back to the days when I would eat all the green jellybeans, and my cousin Coral would eat all of the black ones (gross!), out of the bag in our tent while camping way up north at my grandpa’s moose-hunting spot. It was cold at night – so cold that we could see our breath, and we could see the northern lights sometimes. I wish I could take another ride on a 4-wheeler down a dusty road over tree trunks and through swampy water. Those sure were the good ‘ol days. Not a care in the world. Well, the only care was wondering if we had picked enough blueberries for our pancake breakfast; not a bad thing to worry about if you ask me. It was a celebration of life every day back then! Our youth allowed us to revel in the wonders that God gave us here on earth. And now, there is a different kind of celebration of life we must tend to – one for our cousin Jay, because God saw that is was time for him to leave earth. He passed away tonight after a long fight with addiction.
My cousin Marky, (Jay’s brother), wrote a heartfelt post on Facebook tonight. In it he asks a friend who died two years ago to take care of Jay, because he, “still might need help in heaven“. Tears! Oh my God, that broke my heart! And it made me realize how much of a battle Jay had with addiction here on earth. So much so that his brother is still worried about him in heaven. Marky recognizes how difficult it is to survive the disease of addiction, a disease that follows you wherever you go – except to heaven Marky.
I hope Marky can find relief in imagining his brother celebrating his life in heaven, without any pain. I bet there are Christmas parties filled with treats galore there. And camping trips with 4-wheelers and trails where you see the most beautiful things imaginable. And most importantly, all the jellybeans Jay wants to eat. You can have my green ones Jay. And if you are as crazy as Coral to like black jellybeans, I’m sure she will give you hers too.
Oh…I almost forgot, there are enough blueberries – no need to worry about that.
Ok…I’m chatting with Mark Audette and Bill Langford. Reminiscing. The good old days ❤️🙏 Wow. People still ask me if I miss it. Yes. I am in a better place now, but being a paramedic will always be in my heart.