Faces of Recovery

faces of recovery missy

Missy’s struggle with drugs and alcohol was rooted in childhood trauma. Today, she is in recovery to become the best mother she can be for her young children.

“The day I got out of the hospital after having my son, I got my dealer to go shove ten pills under the seat of my car so when I got home I could use. I had my kids taken away in February. I put my son down and I went and smoked some meth in the bathroom. CFS came and took my kids away and I haven’t seen my daughter since February. But the first thing I thought when they took my kids was, ‘F**k yeah’, I can use more. The drugs had control over my everything. I was so scared of losing who I was on those drugs. I never loved myself enough to feel like I didn’t need drugs to feel good. I felt like I wasn’t a good mom unless I was high. And now all my kids are separated. I miss them. And it hurts. I’m so angry for the way that I was and for what I did to my kids. I’m so happy that they don’t have to see that anymore, and their mom is slowly starting to come back. I’m slowly learning to love me.”  ~ Missy
faces of recovery jonny

Jonny served 6 years in the Canadian military before he sought recovery for drug and alcohol abuse. Today, he is a proud father, a motivated Bear Clan Patrol member and a passionate Indigenous activist.

“It wasn’t going to jail again that was my wake up call. I believed that jail was what I deserved and that’s how I saw myself. That’s how full of self-loathing I was. It was only about two weeks into my sentence when I was told I needed to go to the front to sign for some papers. It turned out to be a subpoena for my son. My ex, she wanted to go over terms for custody of my son and there were a lot of terms that I didn’t agree with. And that’s when I really took a look at myself. I looked at myself as a father and as a person and I decided to make some changes. I’m so grateful to have had Aurora. Not everyone has that privilege. That’s why I want to do more to help others. In my future I want to more advocating for Northern communities. There are so many doors opening for me. Life is beautiful now and I’m learning to appreciate the small things.”

  ~ Jonny

faces of recovery Eddie

A crucial part of addictions and mental illness recovery is caring for the body as a whole. At Aurora, Eddie’s job is to bridge the gap between physical and mental healing and complete the recovery process.

“We’ve learned that we can kind of mitigate our parasympathetic nervous system and keep the body in a rest and digest state. In terms of addiction, when a trigger comes, an addict goes into fight or flight or a high state of arousal. That’s when they might want to use, but using exercise as an alternative output for that energy can keep your body in rest and digest, and mitigate that trigger. It’s interesting how exercise has the ability to keep people feeling calm.

I could also have someone in the middle of an exercise program and they might break down in tears. This is why our counsellor Jennifer Hearn created the term ‘fitness therapists,’ which is an understanding that when you are training someone physically, the emotions can come up too. Sometimes, we can have trauma stuck in our body, and a movement or an exercise can trigger a memory or a feeling. The body can be a link to emotional and spiritual healing too.”

  ~ Eddie

faces of recovery samantha

Samantha leads Aurora Recovery Centre’s ARC squad. Around the holiday season, part of her job is ensuring that all members and alumni feel positive and supported.

I had heard one of our members at Aurora say that he feels okay with being away from his family this Christmas. It was different; I’m used to hearing people say, ‘I miss my family this Christmas. We don’t have our regular traditions here; It doesn’t look the same or smell the same.’ And that’s why we try to have as many programs and activities going on at the facility over the holidays, so our members don’t feel so lonely.

I had approached this particular member and asked him to elaborate a little more on his point, and he had said “You know, I’ve been playing Russian roulette with my life, and I’ve been physically there for Christmas with my family for years. But I’ve always been absent mentally. So if I can’t fix myself right now, then I don’t even know if I’ll be around for next Christmas.” I thought it was so inspiring to hear that he had this willingness to be away from his family because it meant being able to give his family the best gift, which is his sobriety.

  ~ Samantha