Tyla Savard, Grande Prairie, AB

My daughter Carrissa, 23, has been struggling with fentanyl for 4 years. We were living in a black hole of hell for so long that it was encompassing all of us, we've had drug dealers at our door in the middle of the night with guns and enforcers trying to get in to get to the boyfriend who was also living with us.

2016 was a year of finally seeing light in the tunnel of darkness, it brought some huge heart ache, tough love actions and responses, learning curves beyond imaginable but also brought a methadone clinic to our community which has been a blessing. It's a long road, never knowing if its going to be a bright sunshiny day or a black hole of hell to suddenly open and unleash chaos. Triggers come in many forms and learning what things, people, places, or situations are triggers is challenging.

One of the hardest things I've had to learn is that I'm not in control, I can't fix it (a mom kiss, hug and band aid aren't enough), it's not mine to own, decisions (good or bad) aren't mine to make and it's not my timeline!

Keeping those reminders and practices in daily routine and thought processes we continue to forge on making sure to go to the pharmacy every day to get her methadone, getting her to and going with her (her request) to as many NA meetings each week as she is willing to do, working on getting her to the point of functioning for more than a few hours a day to get out meet people even from meetings but to make relationships outside of the meetings, sourcing volunteer opportunities to help someone else so she can feel that she is contributing.

I think I've learned more as a mom in the last 4 years than the first 18 of her life, the steepest learning curve ever! I'm thankful everyday, every moment for the luck we have of still having her alive and safe, unfortunately I know it could be a blink of an eye and that luck could be gone.

Our situation and being the woman/mom that I am then coming from a community that has been reported numerous times as the highest fentanyl/drug crisis rates for the province has only made me smarter, stronger and a force to be reckoned with. I've discovered the stigma that society places on those with addictions carries over to those that are associated to them and are open about it - funny that just makes me more so on a mission to educate those people that they could easily be in my shoes without even knowing it. It's not that fact that you have a situation it's how you handle it that speaks volumes.

So I continue making connections with others who are parents or have a family member who is struggling with addictions. All while working with community entities - medical, law enforcement, education, government to share knowledge, get them into action and don't take no for an answer.

We can work together and be rid of the stigmas and help each other, it could be anyone at anytime dealing with any part of this crisis - no one is exempt!

Daughter Carissa, 23, is working toward recovery

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Tyla Savard

Tyla Savard

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