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Addictions meeting aims to shift mindsets, reduce stigma

Understanding the mechanics of addiction the first step to helping those who are struggling
Mel Siggelkow and Stephanie Hudson of Rising Above at the 2023 Mission Vision conference in Fort St. John on March 4, 2023.

Fort St. John residents curious about addiction and its impact on their loved ones or coworkers have a chance to learn more about potential paths to recovery.

Mel Siggelkow of Rising Above Ministries says Wednesday's public conversation at the Pomeroy Sport Centre aims to help people understand the mechanics of addiction and shift mindsets to reduce stigma, whether they’re struggling with addiction themselves, or seeking to support someone who is.

“You drive by people on the street, and you kind of go, ‘Why don’t they smarten up? Why don’t they just get a job?’ and they have that harsh judgment,” Siggelkow says.

“This presentation will help you change that, from judgment to an understanding, which is the first step to helping. There’s some stuff going on in their lives and I need to have a little bit more compassion towards them.”

Based in Grande Prairie, Rising Above is leading efforts to expand its community-led treatment program into Fort St. John.

Since starting in 2007, Siggelkow says more than 2,000 people have been served through the program, dealing with a range of issues at the root cause of their addiction, from childhood abuse and bullying, to feelings of abandonment and shame from other events in their lives.

People need help to walk through their trauma, Siggelkow says.

“There’s basically two things: A, you got to deal with your trauma, and B, you have to deal with the sights sounds and smells of your active addiction. The people and places that have set those patterns,” he says.

If you’re able to work though your past pain, through counselling or our model, and you’re able to put into place some good accountability structures and have a support team like AA or NA, then you’re setting yourself up to move forward in a healthy way.”

Understanding Addiction starts at 7 p.m. in the first floor meeting room at the Pomeroy Sport Centre. The session is open to all who want to learn more about this critical topic.

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