SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)- To say addiction is a struggle is an understatement. An estimated 293,000 Pennsylvanians reported having an ‘active substance use disorder’ last year.
Many of those struggling with substance use disorder are addicted to opioids. Among them are mothers who are trying to get clean for their children and themselves.
Eyewitness News met a couple of these women who’ve helped create an inspirational symbol of their struggles with the disease of addiction, and their hope for recovery.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, the newly unveiled mural would require thousands more. It’s located inside The Wright Center for Community Health in Scranton.
“I painted all of the sidewalks,” said Schrece Graff, a Healthy MOMS Participant.
“Cracks and all,” which Healthy MOMS participant Schrece Graff said represented the struggle with a disease which often takes years to recover from.
“Just a couple of years ago, you know, I wasn’t… I wasn’t the best person. I wasn’t doing the best things or making the right moves for my children. I was only focused on myself and my drug addiction,” Graff told Eyewitness News.
She leaned on The Wright Center program called Healthy MOMS, an acronym for Maternal Opiate Medical Support.
“When they come to us, they’re really struggling, a lot of them and we get to see them at their worst and then, you know, through the work they put in come to the other side and it’s really a beautiful experience,” explained Vanessa Zurn, a case manager for the Wright Center for Community Health Healthy MOMS program.
When Eyewitness News asked Graff how the program has helped her as a mother she said, “Oh, it’s helped me as a mother, as a person. Just doing the day-to-day, everyday struggles. Umm, it’s helped me be a much better person, a much better parent.”
“I literally say they saved my life,” said Casey Smith, a Healthy MOMS participant from Scranton.
Mother of four Casey Smith credited Healthy MOMS with helping her climb out of the depths of despair. Her recovery journey is reflected in her mural contribution.
“I painted a lot of different things like the angels and some of the lettering but I put the serenity prayer in there myself,” Smith added.
The prayer which speaks of wisdom and courage to change what you can is recited at Healthy MOMS meetings.
“When they can start to connect with something, that’s when we see the real recovery happen,” Zurn explained.
And helps these moms be their best.
“I’ve been able to really pull myself out of that and see the bigger picture and my children are the bigger picture,” Graff concluded.
15 mothers and seven children helped make the murals with much support including physicians and staff members.
The murals are prominently displayed together at the Wright Center’s Scranton facility near the Healthy MOMS office