By Anthony DiPierro
Candidate for Ward 3 City Councilor
In July, I submitted an op-ed to the local papers about how important it is for the city of Everett to come together and tackle the opiate epidemic head on. I discussed different ways to be proactive and ideas to further help addicts coming out of detox continue their sobriety. A major component of combating the crisis is to end the stigma associated with drug addiction. Many addicts aren’t just the stereo-typical homeless person or the individual nodding-off on the corner. They can be the father, mother, son or daughter that is struggling with addiction and too ashamed to seek help because of the stigma that comes with drug addiction. In an effort to end the stigma, I’ve decided to open up and share my story of how addiction has affected my family, that recovery is possible and why I’m so passionate about it.
I don’t think there is a single person who hasn’t been affected by this epidemic. We all know a family member, friend or former classmate that has lost their life to opiate addiction. My story begins when my father underwent a gastric bypass surgery when I was very young. He was prescribed OxyContin for the recovery process. He, like so many others, became easily hooked and after a while, his habit became unstoppable.
My father went through several years of detoxes, rehab facilities, sober houses, and re-treats. None of it seemed to work. He was eventually sectioned by the state and through the help of friends also seeking sobriety, AA, NA, and the step program; he is now proudly clean and sober. He dedicates time to help others battling addiction and regularly attends meetings. He still takes it one day at a time because addiction isn’t something that goes away, it is a lifelong battle.
I would like to thank my father for allowing me to share his story. I’m proud of my father for being able to turn his life around and help others. I consider him to be more of my best friend, than anything else. I wanted to share a bit of how this disease has personally affected me so people can see that recovery really is possible. I also want to thank Everett Overcoming Addiction for continuing to pursue their goal “to not lose another loved one to addiction, to educate not only the addict, but their friends and families, so they know drug overdosing can be prevented. To have hope for future generations to make addiction a conquered disease." I hope sharing my families story has helped their goals.