Editor’s Note: For those wishing to read the previous posts, you can click on the following links: Addictions Are Us, Addicted to Our Thoughts, Raising a Toast to Our Health and Beyond it and Why Alcohol is a Different Community Conversation than Cannabis.

 

With this final article in the four part series exclusive to Tide Change, we must ask ourselves, “Where do we go from here”? What are the next steps for residents in the Comox Valley looking to address addictions, whatever they may be, in order to regain the freedom to live fully and authentically?

First, each person has to determine their level of comfort with regards to finding resources and information. Some people may prefer to do their research on the internet via websites or in books, because it offers a certain level of anonymity when looking for general information. Others may prefer the assistance of an individual, on the phone or in person, who is trained to respond to the various needs of the local community. The key here is to take some form of action.

Secondly, it is important to realize that we are all dealing with some form of addiction, since a great majority of us are addicted to thoughts of worry and fear. The levels of anxiety in the general population are on the rise and we are bombarded daily with options promising to make us feel better, on a very temporary basis. The problem, of course, is that habitual patterns begin to form, without addressing the thoughts which triggered an emotional reaction within us in the first place. Let me specify that I speak solely on a personal basis here and that these steps are not a substitute for professional help. They are simply an opportunity to continue a conversation that should be taking placing everywhere in our community. 

Last Wednesday evening, Howard R. Johnson concluded his powerful presentation, at the Stan Hagen Theatre at North Island College, by asking us to continue the conversation about how addiction to alcohol has a very significant impact in all aspects of life in our community. I will expand on the details of that night in the next posting of my Community Conversations column, but it is important to note the theatre was filled to capacity with an audience that was hanging onto his every word. During the Q & A that followed, both men and women used this forum to share their experiences, as well as their very pressing need for assistance in finding ways to help their loved ones. My sense, as an observer, was that this event allowed local residents to feel heard and validated in their beliefs that no one should be left to handle the situation alone.

The truth is that most of us do better when we feel and find the support and understanding of our community, no matter the addiction. 

I think it is important to include information for anyone who is struggling, or who knows someone who is struggling, with addiction issues. They should contact the Vancouver Island Crisis Line:

For immediate assistance with substance abuse issues, emotional crisis or if you simply need support, please contact the Vancouver Island Crisis Line at 1-888-494-3888 or visit www.vicrisis.ca 

I also think it is important for community members to become part of the conversation during their  journey of recovery and healing by using their experiences to help others.

With this in mind, if you or someone you know are interested in getting involved to make a difference in our community, they should think about contacting the City of Courtenay’s Drug Strategy committee: https://www.courtenay.ca/EN/main/community/community-drug-strategy.html

Finally, you can also contact the Comox Valley Community Health Network, if you would like to be involved in future action in this area, or to keep up to date on Community Health initiatives: cvcommunityhealthnetwork@gmail.com
 
With addictions, there is no them and us. It is simply a case of if and when. 
 
Let’s keep talking.

 

Catherine Hedrich

Editor in Chief, Tidechange.ca