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Joining health and addiction rehabilitation organisations across the country, Portage celebrated Canada’s second annual Recovery Day on September 8, 2013.  Portage Atlantic stood proudly on the steps of Fredericton City Hall as Mayor Brad Woodside read the Recovery Day Proclamation.  Two Portage Atlantic graduates then shared their personal stories of recovery with the crowd.

“I didn’t expect to make it out. I really didn’t.  And a lot of people didn’t expect me to make it,” said Kassie, one of the Portage Atlantic graduates who shared their stories at the event.  “It’s a weird thing to say but I’m kind of a miracle.  I wasn’t supposed to still be standing here.  I really wasn’t,” she added, stating that her struggle with addiction has been one of the hardest things she’s ever done in her life.

Fredericton was one of twelve cities across Canada to recognise September 8 as Recovery Day.  The initiative seeks to encourage recovered addicts to speak proudly about the transformation they have made in their lives, while highlighting the importance of addiction rehabilitation treatment and inspiring people to seek the help they need to take back control of their lives. Portage representatives attended Recovery Day rallies in Vancouver, Ottawa, and Toronto as well, lending their voice to the call to end the stigma around addiction.

Mayor Brad Woodside said he was pleased to have Fredericton included in Recovery Day 2013.

“I was part of a small group of people who actually got together to bring a treatment facility to Cassidy Lake and give people, like a lot of the folks present here today, a second chance at life,” he said before reading the Recovery Day Proclamation.
The two Portage graduates who shared their stories with the crowd stressed that no matter how far someone has gone into their addiction, they are not beyond help.

“Everyone has that chance. Multiple chances. If you screw up once, it doesn’t mean your life is over,” said Liam. “Use the tools that are available to you and be open to the suggestions people are going to give that have done it before. There is life after addiction.”

“Recovery can happen,” added Kassie.  “It’s hard and it’s going to hurt.  You’re going to feel empty and useless and hopeless, but if you stay with it and you take the advice given to you and work all the resources around you, you can get better.  You don’t have to live like that anymore.  You don’t have to wake up every day and wish you hadn’t. It’s not a necessary thing.  There are people who are willing to help you.  You’re not a lost cause.  You’re never a lost cause.  It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been using or how messed up your life is, it can get better.”

For more information on Recovery Day, visit www.recoveryday.ca.

Above photo by James West/The Daily Gleaner. From left to right: Mayor Brad Woodside, Kassie Macfarlane-Webb, Portage graduate, Carol Tracey, Portage Atlantic Director of Development, Liam Power, graduate, and Geordie Gould, Director of Portage Atlantic.

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