‘National Recovery Month’: The person behind the drug use

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ASHLEY, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — September is “National Recovery Month” and Eyewitness News is taking a look at what drug use recovery looks like in this region.

Cathy Ryzner struggled with substance abuse for decades.

“I was smoking cigarettes by 8 and 9, marijuana by 10, 11. By 14, I was an IV drug user. 70’s it was crack, 80’s it was coke and crack, 90’s I found the heroin,” said Ryzner who is in recovery.

“It takes over your brain. It really grabs your brain. I didn’t want to hurt my family. I didn’t want to hurt my child. I didn’t wake up one day and want to put myself in that situation. Laying on the bathroom floor, crying for God to help me. We’re good people. You meet people in recovery. We’re good people, but put that drug or drink in us, all bets are off,” explained Ryzner.

Ryzner says there’s a stigma that surrounds people who struggle with substance abuse disorder. She wants people to know there’s a person behind the drug use.

“We are people. We are people with a substance abuse disorder. We are moms. We are brothers. We are sisters with a substance abuse disorder,” said Ryzner.

“It is difficult, especially when people burn bridges and their family says they can’t handle it anymore and they have to go away. It’s so difficult because they feel so alone,” said Stefanie Wolownik who is a prevention education specialist.

But both of these women say you aren’t alone, and there is help available.

“Recovery is hard. It’s the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do. But, it’s the best thing you’ll ever do. I never thought I’d be where I am today. Never,” said Ryzner

“Reach out. Don’t give up. Don’t ever ever give up because recovery is possible. That’s why we’re celebrating this month because recovery is possible. That’s why we’re celebrating this month of September because recovery is possible. You just have to reach out,” explained Wolownik.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a substance abuse disorder you can visit SAMHSA.gov for help or call 1-800-662-HELP (4357). You can also visit the website of Wyoming Valley Alcohol and Drug Services Inc.

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