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March 23, 2018

"Flounder",  from Disney's Little Mermaid (portrayed by Shawn Weston Thacker, a Paramount Player) visited Monroe School in Huntington, WV, to read to and entertain the preschool and kindergarten students.

Blaine Elementary 5th grader Sawn Weston Thacker appeared at an area elementary school to read to the students in his "Flounder" costume.  Photo and submission by: Shawna ThackerBlaine Elementary 5th grader Sawn Weston Thacker appeared at an area elementary school to read to the students in his "Flounder" costume. Photo and submission by: Shawna Thacker

 

Thacker was also cast as a Sea Creature in Paramount Arts Center's recent production of Little Mermaid. Thacker was an entertainer at Dollywood Theme Park in Pigeon Forge, TN in the  show "O Holy Night" for two seasons.  He also sang with the KY Opry Jr. Pros in their 2017 Christmas performance at the Mountain Arts Center, where he studies voice and piano at Bersaglia Studio. 

Thacker is a 5th grader at Blaine Elementary School. His parents are Shawn and Shawna Thacker of Blaine. 

 

March 22, 1018

Blaine’s First Ever Soup Kitchen/Community Dinner

Rachel Wheeler OF Gods Hands MinistryRachel Wheeler OF Gods Hands MinistryA ministry, God’s Hands Ministry Lawrence Co. Food Bank, is getting ready to open the first ever soup kitchen in Blaine.

“We are trying to let everyone know about it.” As of right now it will be open the last Friday of every month, so on 3-30-18 dinner will start at 6pm and will be located at the Blaine Community Center.

Sponsors of the Food bank and all volunteers, “want everyone to think of this just like a community dinner and not a soup kitchen". Everyone is welcome.

 

March 20, 2018

My story with addiction began later on in life, not as a child.  I was raised in a safe, stable, and loving home and have wonderful parents.  My story with drug use came at a later time in my life and progressed over an 18 year time period.  I am one of four children, with two sisters and one older brother.  We were raised with morals and values and my parents were both very hard-working, honest, and great people.  I was never exposed to drugs and/or drug use until I was 19 and met the man I was dating, which would end up being the father of my two children.  He would end up being the first one to ever give me a pill and later on would end up being very violent and abusive as his own addiction progressed throughout the years.  My abuser was also my enabler.

After 12 years of domestic violence, I finally got enough courage and resources to leave.  He passed away within a year or maybe a little less.  I had in the meantime, quit “using”, however, I would soon end up in relapse.  I was supporting two kids alone with no help from anyone, working two jobs to pay my bills and give my children everything I could.  I began to sell narcotics on the street and shortly after started using again.

By 2015 I had gotten involved with yet another abusive man and he was also an addict, using IV drugs, and introduced me to the needle.   I eventually ended up on heroin and meth.  I had never gotten this far in my addiction before, and I was one of those who totally ignored my own needs. As long as my children had everything and were happy I did not worry about myself or any of my mental and emotional needs.  Drugs had become a way to cope over the years.  They numbed me to the abuse, the death of the kids’ father, and the many other things that had scarred me emotionally.   I had so many unresolved feelings and thoughts when it concerned my marriage.

By 2016 my relationship had become so toxic I had let my kids go stay with their paternal grandparents.  This would end up being what pushed me over the edge.  I sent them because at this point I knew I needed help and as a parent I knew that was the best choice.  I had never been away from my children.  Within a couple of months, I ended up wanted in the state of West Virginia for questioning concerning a robbery of a government owned facility. I was homeless and had also been arrested here in Kentucky and was in jail for Burglary 3rd, Criminal Trespass 3rd, and several other charges.  I was now facing up to 20 years in prison.

I was released from jail on probation with several years over me if I ever messed up again.  I went to live with my big sister, Connie, after coming home and she helped me get my life back together.  I had rules and things she required me to do, but she helped me get back on my feet, fed me, and put a roof over my head until I could do it on my own.  My parents were really at their wit’s end with me and had ask me to get help. I refused because I thought I could handle it on my own.  When my spouse was released, we decided to try to make it work, as he promised he would seek treatment with me and work on changing our lives.  Within months he had relapsed, and was using meth and was very violent after being up for days on a meth binge.  He had begun stealing again and was completely irrational.  I tried to get him to get help and finally because I refused to use with him and let him take my pickup to steal things, he attacked me one night in December, choking me until unconscious, leaving me in his “meth buddy’s” backyard, laying in wet grass and frost in 10 degree weather.  I assume he thought he killed me when he choked me until I passed out.  I was not found until 4 am that morning and had half of my clothing ripped off of me.  I still have no idea what put him into such a rage. He had been abusive and hit me several times, but this was rage! God was watching over me that night, because I know as many times as I have been in that situation, done a little too much, and/or been in worse places, God has kept me alive!

When I came to and people had found me lying in the cold, almost frozen to death, I realized how close to death I was that night, and the many times before.  I have purposely done so much while using that I thought it would kill me, and I never could do it successfully.  I was afraid of suicide, but I would wish for death with every shot, every time I would get high. Deep down, I did not want to live through it!  I had lost everything, I had hurt my family and my children and I did not want to live and I thought I had went too far to ever be able to change or be saved!  When my parents arrived, something happened that night.  I could literally see the pain in my Dad’s eyes when they saw me and saw what kind of shape I was in.  My Mom too, she was so hurt.  I had caused so much pain with my family, and yet they still refused to give up on me.  They was still there and loved me!  I had to change my life.

I had been maintaining on medication, but not obtaining it legally.  I was still living the wrong way and I was well aware that without treatment I could and would not be successful in remaining sober.  I called the intake number on the door at Addiction Recovery Care, and within a couple of days my journey began.  I had no clue when I came through those doors what was ahead for me!  All the events, even the request from CPS to complete a program before I could start working a custody case, all the bad, the good, each and every person and event involved in getting me in treatment with this organization was truly a part of God’s bigger plan for me, and I am so very thankful today!

Since beginning treatment with ARC, I have gained stability in my home.  I now have healthy relationships. I no longer tolerate any toxic relationships, regardless of who or what the situation is.  I have set standards for myself and for those who are around me and I am worth it! I know this now!  I now have and set goals routinely and have the confidence needed to carry out a plan to obtain each and every goal I set. The sky truly is the limit! I know this now, and I live it.  I have changed in so many ways since beginning with Addiction Recovery Care, all for the better, and have become the person God intended me to be!  They saw what I couldn’t in me, and my family did too. Addiction Recovery Care has not only saved my life, but have changed my life!

My recovery began with not just physical healing, but mental, emotional, and spiritual.  With four hours a week of group counseling, one on one sessions with my therapists, and also attending Celebrate Recovery as often as I could and the amazing support from my care team at Addiction Recovery Care, I was able to work through a lot of resentments, guilt and shame, and my addiction.  My PTSD, which I was not aware or would not accept the diagnosis during my addiction.  This was actually fueling my drug use and was a trigger, so they helped me to work on treating not just the substance use, but PTSD from years of domestic violence.  This allowed me to let go of so many things, forgive my abuser, and move on with my life.  It can no longer keep me sick, as it did for so many years.  I pray for them daily!  My family and I are also closer now than ever before!  I made my amends with all my family members, owning up to every single thing I have done.  Acknowledging all of my shortcomings and defects is part of my recovery also.  I also began building a stronger and more stable relationship with my children, nieces and nephews. I have worked and completed a successful CPS case and let my children decide where they wanted to live, and get to be part of their life now.   My whole family is involved in my recovery and I am truly blessed to have them.  They all are supportive and always there when I am having a rough day.  My care team at Louisa Outpatient, my ARC family, is beyond the best. Each has played a vital role in my recovery.  My family, ARC family, and God are my rock. They are what I count on when times get rough, or I am just having a rough day! I would not be here today without them!

I have also completed the Peer Support Academy and am now a Certified Peer Support Specialist.  I am now employed by Addiction Recovery Care.  They helped me discover my true identity and purpose in life!  I know I am living the plan God has had for me from the beginning.  My story is no longer something that is painful or hurtful, but it is the gift God gave me to be able to help others.  I now get to travel and talk to those in addiction about treatment and just share my story.  Addiction Recovery Care gave me life! I am now a productive member of my community, volunteering for church events as often as I can, still attending Celebrate Recovery when I can, and I am also a member of a Leadership/Speech club.  When I didn’t think I could do any of this, all those at ARC and my family would constantly encourage me and remind me of my value.  From my case management to my counseling, all have been supportive and have gave me the best of care and have reminded me on more than one occasion that I can do this. I am worth saving and God has a plan for me!  My parents, siblings, and rest of my family has loved me through it all and never let me fall.

The person I am today has never existed before, as now I am a child of God and I am serving my purpose.  I have been Clean for over a year now, since November 25, 2016.

This is Recovery,  ​I am Recovery!

My aha moment:

I have had more than one throughout my program, from the beginning, when I saw how much I was hurting my family and I realized I was going to die if I did not get help.  I think that was the first one. The second was in treatment when I was accepted into the academy and I was actually passing with perfect scores on homework and tests. I finally thought, for the first time in years, that I could succeed, and I was more than “just an addict,” and I did have a future!

Feelings and emotions in active addiction:

During addiction, for the most part I felt depressed, angry, and hurt.  I blamed my abusive spouse for my addiction, without taking any responsibility on my own.

The driving force that keeps me going when times get tough:

God, my family and my ARC family.  I am blessed with the best family and work family in the world!  God has blessed me in so many ways, and walks with me always!

Advice for the addict still struggling:

Never think you can’t be saved! IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO SEEK TREATMENT.  There is a way out!

What obstacles or roadblocks have you faced in your recovery?

I have faced some negativity from those who would like to see me fail, for whatever their reasons are, and I pray for them.  I also have had to address years of domestic violence, emotional scars, and treat my PTSD along with my substance use disorder.  Also, occasionally, “fear of failure” is something that is common for people in recovery.

What is something you want people who never struggled with addiction to know?

​I encourage everyone who is not familiar with or have personal experience with addiction to talk to someone in recovery to learn, gain the knowledge needed to understand what it truly is.  No one just decides they want to be a drug addict one day.

What advice do you have for family members of a person in addiction?

Support is vital to recovery; I would not be here if my family would not have supported me and been a part of my recovery.  Again, education is the key.  Learn exactly what your loved one is going through and what you can do to help.  Be involved in their treatment and let them know they have your Support!!

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please call Addiction Recovery Care at 606.638.0938 or visit them on the web at www.arccenters.com.

 

There is hope. There is help.