Because He Cares

He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will reward him for what he has done. Proverbs 19:17
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Unsilencing Stories is a podcast reflecting the voices and experiences of people in smaller centres in B.C. and Alberta who have lost loved ones to fatal opioid overdoses.

Across Canada, more than 30,000 people have died from toxic drug poisoning since 2016. In small towns and communities, the risk of overdose is much higher than in urban areas, because of a lack of harm reduction services and stigma about substance use.

In this podcast, you will hear people in Cranbrook, Prince George, and Chilliwack in B.C., as well as Medicine Hat and other parts of Alberta interviewing one another about their loved ones and grief.

The podcast is part of a community-based study facilitated by Aaron Goodman, Ph.D, faculty member at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey, B.C., and students Jenna Keeble and Ashley Pocrnich

Unsilencing Stories

June Lawrence is a recovering alcoholic. She’s proud of her journey and knows the incredible amount of work that goes into sobriety every single day, and she’s on a mission to support others find their way to a happy, healthy life through her site, Recovery Island.


Emily's Facebook Page

As many may know, and for those that don’t, I lost my brother suddenly in the summer of 2013. A day that will forever live in my memory as vividly as if it happened yesterday. A day that haunts me every year as it approaches. Each year, the day hurts less & less, but the sting of the phone call that afternoon with my dad is still the worst pain I’ve ever felt. This was the phone call that changed the course of my life, drastically.
At the time, I was away at college, working as a summer TA in the Chemistry Department and attending a summer class, with the goal of medical school & becoming an oncologist one day.
When the call came in, I was grading papers for Dr. Murphy’s summer lab course, and listening to music, waiting anxiously to be done for the day.
The moment the call came in, my world flipped & turned upside down in a matter of seconds. I walked into Dr. Murphy’s office, with tears flowing like a waterfall down my face & brokenly explained to her what had just happened & she dismissed me for the day to go pack to head home with my dad & his friend on their way to pick me up. I was in no shape to drive the 2.5 hours home.
The next few weeks became a blur, and my world continued to grow dark.
I was set to return to school in a week and a half to finish my second summer course, but came home less than a week later. I couldn’t focus & all I could concentrate on was knowing my brother would forever be physically missing from my life.
The next 5 years of my life were some of the worst. My world became pitch black dark & I became the worst version of myself.
I stopped caring so much about school, and started caring more about forgetting the pain. I dropped out of school & re-enrolled for 4 semesters straight, destroyed my 3.8 GPA, and developed some of the worst habits ever. I started smoking, drinking, and doing drugs on the regular, and for lack of a better way to put it became a total train wreck party animal looking for the next good time.
This train wreck party animal lifestyle lead me to meet some really awesome people, but some really terrible ones too. I’m talking true scum of the earth awful.
I became involved in countless toxic relationships, two very controlling, insecure, manipulative, & abusive ones in particular. And, and truly lost myself.
All before Spring of 2016.
In the spring of 2016, my dad came down, and in two weekends, loaded up my entire apartment and moved me back home.
I left my job, my new friends, and school behind just to get away & find myself again.
Little did i know my troubles were far from over.
When I moved home, I rekindled old friendships & made some new ones. I thought this was it & I was going to get my life back together for real, still hoping to one day to become an oncologist.
In 2017, I met a guy & swore I would marry him. I thought we were two peas in a pod, and he was my endgame.
What I didn’t know was he would lead me to my 2nd most pivotal moment in my life.
You see this guy introduced me to new adventures, new life challenges, and new drugs.
By the end of 2017, my life was in shambles & my drug addiction was about to peak at its worst.
However, by the grace of God, the unconditional love of my family, & the relentless effort of some of the best people I’ve ever met, my repetitive cycle of self-destruction & drug abuse would eventually come to an end in the early Spring of 2018.
To kick start my journey of sobriety & self love as opposed to self loathing, I was invited on the trip of a lifetime to visit some of the most beautiful parts of this country.
During this trip, we visited Moab, UT to see the infamous Arches. While visiting the arches, I sat down on the edge of a cliff, and just stared in awe of the beauty and wonder of the world before me. It was in that moment I questioned just what the hell I was doing wasting my life. It was in that moment that I knew it was time to start this journey for real.
So, I came home, went to therapy weekly to work on myself, started doing things to make my life the life I wanted. I got my dream job back. I changed my friendship circles, I focused on my job & made sure nothing stood in the way of me being present every single day.
I stopped covering the pain. I embraced it.
I stopped focusing on the darkness. I closed my eyes & felt my through with my hands.
I stopped destroying my life. I rebuilt on the foundation I already had.
The journey over the last 7.5 years has by no means been easy, and is in no way finished or over.
And, every single step of the way has been worth every rejection, failure, & setback.
Every setback has taught me to continue to wake up, be present, and fight. Nobody can build the life you want, except for you.
Because of my tireless need to continue to be better than I was yesterday, I will be celebrating 3 (of many many more) years sober in March. I now celebrate my brother’s life as opposed to mourn his death. And, I am becoming a better version of myself than I could have ever possibly dreamed.
I miss my brother daily, please do not think I don’t. But for the first time in almost 7.5 years... I can confidently say I know my brother is smiling down on me, and beyond proud of the person I have become and continue to grow to be.
I love you, Daniel. Thank you for teaching me to get up & fight every single damn day, even when I don’t feel like doing so.
While I may never be able to chase my dream of becoming an oncologist because of life & responsibilities, my story is so not finished yet, and I do know the best is yet to come. ❤️
What’s your story? And, how will you tell it?

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