Cassidy Lake, NB, September 16, 2018 – Finding freedom from addiction, reconnecting with loved ones, going back to work or to school, becoming an active member of society, and making the commitment to never again live in the shadows, is a remarkable achievement that deserves recognition! Portage Atlantic celebrated these remarkable achievements at the Annual Recognition Ceremony today at its drug addiction rehabilitation center on the shores of Cassidy Lake.
The ceremony paid tribute to 25 youth who completed the residential phase of their rehabilitation treatment program, and 11 who have maintained a positive lifestyle since they graduated a year ago. The feeling of pride and appreciation radiated as each the graduates walked across the stage to accept their Recognition certificate. This positive energy was felt by some 300 guests who attended the event; parents, siblings, friends, supporters, Portage Atlantic staff members and volunteers.
One of these guests included, Kassandra Melanson who has battled with addiction as a young adult and says that addiction was definitely one of the hardest challenges. She added “As I look back on my 20 years of life, taking the necessary steps to reach out for the help an addict desperately needs was, without a doubt, a difficult challenge in itself. Coming to treatment was terrifying. It required me to step on my drug induced pride and break through years of walls built to shelter a scared little girl”.
Guest Speaker, Zoe Watson, Superintendent of School District South has been involved with Portage Atlantic since 2005. “I have watched this beautiful piece of land on the water be transformed from having many mobile units to the wonderful facility it is today. It is a pleasure for me each year to sit in the audience at the annual recognition ceremonies and hear from many who care so much about our young men and women – volunteers, staff, sponsors, and family members. It is my pleasure to be able to share a few words with those being recognized this year. We come together to celebrate them and say thank you to all who have been with them on this challenging journey”, she said.
These new graduates have come a long way and now have the tools and confidence to live a positive lifestyle as they continue their journey. For Kassandra, the six months at Portage taught her to not only love others, but also her own self, a competency she never imagined to acquire. “I am, and forever, grateful to have found not only sobriety here at Portage, but also happiness”.
While today’s event was about celebrating the accomplishments of their youth, Portage is also looking ahead with trepidation at the imminent legalization of marijuana. Portage is confronted every day with the devastating consequences of cannabis abuse as well as other drugs. They believe firmly that more regulations are required including an older legal age limit. They also believe more resources need to be invested in addiction services. Through their awareness campaign “Legalization won’t stop addiction”, Portage has been highlighting their viewpoint and urging government to take more precautions.