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Virtual event to support those battling addiction in the London community

(L-R) heo Fleury, Miranda Roovers, Séan McCann, Bev Thomson, Sarah Smith, and host Paulie O’Byrne will all be part of the Facebook live event. Screenshot

There may be no in-person Addiction Recovery Breakfast this year, but Addiction Services of Thames Valley (ADSTV) has brought together some speakers to help keep the conversation going virtually.

“Connection has been one of the biggest ways I’ve recovered,” said local musician Sarah Smith.

“Just knowing that other people are out there that are like me and can related to my story, it makes me feel like I’m not a bad person, just a sick person trying to get better.”

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Smith, who has shared her story of addiction during past breakfasts, feels it’s important to keep the line of communication open with others who are currently battling addiction.

“It can make you feel shameful,” she said. “Now I don’t have any of that blanket of darkness anymore.”

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Smith will share more of her path to recovery during the Facebook livestream, which will be hosted by Paulie O’Byrne, who is no stranger to addiction himself.

“I’m super grateful that I built a network of support, because especially during this pandemic, I don’t know I would have been able to stay sober without the people in my life,” said Paulie O’Byrne.

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As a recovering alcoholic, O’Byrne says the stories he heard and contacts he made during recovery breakfasts events in the past were tremendous in helping him get, and stay, sober.

Throughout the livestream, O’Byrne will be having conversations with Theo Fleury, Miranda Roovers, Sean McCann, Bev Thomson and Sarah Smith in which they will detail the their journey — from when they finally realize their problem through the challenges of getting clean.

Smith recalls that admitting to your addiction can be a very vulnerable experience, but she quickly realized she wasn’t alone, and felt comfort in others battling the same demons.

Since then, she said, she has noticed a complete turnaround in her life.

“I’ve become an honest person, I have no ability to lie the way I use to. Addiction can make a really good person into a liar, a thief, a fraud — it can make you disconnect from family that love you and people that want to help you,” said Smith.

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“I can be there for people for once, instead of other people always being there for me.”

The Facebook livestream begins at 7 p.m. Friday.

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