‘I had lost everything’: Addiction stories shared at Recovery Day 2019 in Moncton

People gathered to share stories of recovery, address the stigma associated with recovery and encourage others. Callum Smith / Global News

People gathered in Moncton to share stories of recovery and talk about the stigma around recovering from addictions Monday.

The fifth-annual “Recovery Day” comes as a spike in meth has become more prevalent in the community. People who have struggled with and overcome addictions spoke and shared success stories, while also talking about the challenges they faced.

“I didn’t know what was going on. I pushed all my friends away, all my family, and started isolating,” said André Viel, a recovery coach who has overcome his own addictions.

For Dr. Susan Crouse of the Salvus Clinic, she said the event helps to shine a light on an issue that needs more focus.

Dr. Susan Crouse of the Salvus Clinic says Recovery Day is important to share stories of recovery, talk about the stigma associated with it and encourage those trying to get clean. Callum Smith / Global News

“Recognizing that recovery is a journey,” she said. “As a community, we want to reduce the stigma around addictions and we want to provide encouragement to people to help them realize that they’re not alone.”

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Dr. Crouse says they’ve noticed an increase in crystal meth in the Moncton area over the past couple years, noting that it’s a “very cheap” drug.

Dr. Serge Melanson, the president of the New Brunswick Medical Society, told Global News in an interview on Thursday that the drug problem is a growing concern.

“We have serious illicit drug problems in our communities, including crystal methylene here in Moncton,” he said.

A province-wide drug bust on Aug. 29 led to police seizing more than 14 kilograms of what is believed to be crystal meth, 880 grams of what’s believed to be cocaine and crack cocaine, and other drugs.

Angel DeRoche says she started crystal meth, crack cocaine and hydromorphine at the age of 12, and struggled severely before finding herself in jail.

“I had lost everything. I lost my home, my kids, my husband, everything … due to drugs and alcohol.”

Angel DeRoche says she started crystal meth, crack cocaine and hydromorphine at the age of 12. Callum Smith / Global News

But at the event, DeRoche received a pin marking six months of being sober.

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“I beg you. I beg you to try to come and get help,” she said. “Even if it’s just for the one day you go get help, just live for that day and come get your life back.”

Michelle Geldart, who also shared her story of recovery, said she’s been clean for over three-and-a-half years. And while she says she never used meth, it was part of what led her to get help.

“It actually did scare me. It scared me that I didn’t want to do it, so that’s what helped me make the decision that enough is enough, ‘I don’t want to go further in this, I don’t want to end up dead,'” she said.

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