On January 1st, my blog will be two years old. The response to it was more than I ever could have imagined. Since I started it in 2013, it has been visited 181,000 times! That is 181,000 opportunities to bring comfort to individuals and families struggling with addiction and to educate those who are looking for more information on the disease. It just goes to show the power we ALL have within us to make a difference when we set our minds to it.
I was also not expecting to develop a following from all over the world. The majority of my visitors come from Canada, USA, Ukraine, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Russia, Turkey, Moldova and China but they have also come from Belgium, Czech Republic, India, Poland, and Ireland. Sadly, it goes to show that addiction is hurting people worldwide.
Anyone who knows me personally knows that I am an introvert by nature who puts my head down and does what needs to be done without fanfare. However, it warms my heart to know that I am bringing comfort to so many. It wasn’t that long ago that Mike and I felt very much alone in our journey. I would’ve loved to have a blog to go to where I could read about other people’s experiences and know that we were not alone. I am happy to be a resource like that today for other people on this journey. I thank God for giving me the ability to express myself in writing.
I recently received a touching email (below) that captures perfectly what I’d always hoped my blog would do for people who are hurting.
You don't know me and I don't know you but somehow about a year and a half ago I was at my wits end. My loved one was in active addiction and I was online trying to find some guidance to deal with what this was doing to me personally. I stumbled upon something you had written and I cried as I read. There was someone out there and real that knew exactly how I felt! I began following all your inspirational posts! This morning I read your Christmas post and I realized I had to say thank you to you! My loved one has found his way to asking for help and actually getting on the methadone program! It has been about 4 years since I realized he was struggling with addiction and since he made the first promise to quit! It has been a very long road to say the least! And I am fully aware this too may not be the end of this road but this morning singing in the kitchen baking with my children and my loved one actually participating! I am hopeful! I wish much happiness and joy to you and yours! And I will never be able to thank you enough for all the rough patches you unknowingly got me through! Thank you!
In addition to my blogging, I keep very busy with my other advocacy and support work, which includes my daily postings (365 days per year). I will continue to work hard to raise awareness, build compassion, educate and advocate for more services until such time that addiction is treated like any other serious illness. A few of my highlights from 2014 include:
· Joining the Province’s Mental Health and Addictions Advisory Council where I share my experience and knowledge as we work to develop long-term strategies for PEI.
· Co-founding the 3 C’s Family Support Group with Ronnie Power in order to provide more support to family members of those struggling with addiction.
· Being an advisor and volunteer for the Reach Foundation, which supports youth in recovery and their families.
· Co-hosting an event for Chris Cull who rode his bike across Canada to raise awareness about the prescription drug epidemic while filming footage for a documentary he is working on.
· Becoming a featured blogger on a popular addiction website with over 20,000 members.
I’ve also been blessed with many other opportunities to help others through writing, music, video, media and public speaking. I never wanted to have anything to do with addiction but, unfortunately, we don’t get to choose what our journey in life will be. However, we do get to choose how we handle our challenges. I chose to turn our family’s experience into something good by being a positive voice for those struggling with addiction and their families and I have no regrets. With that in mind, I look forward to seeing what 2015 brings.
I saved the best to last. The biggest highlight of my year and the greatest gift of all in 2014 was my son’s recovery, which is now 15 months in length. All three of our kids are healthy and happy and we are so grateful. We want for nothing except to have other families experience this joy as well.
There is still a lot to be done to ensure that addiction is treated like any other serious illness but together we will get there. Please continue to read and share my posts so that the people who need to see them (which is everybody!) will.
Thank you for being part of my family’s journey. Sending you many warm wishes for a healthy and happy 2015!