EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — For the first time in American history. 100,000 people lost their lives to the overdose epidemic in a one-year span. And a local treatment center is working to help those impacted.

From loneliness to seasonal depression, this time of year can be hard for those struggling with substance abuse.

“The emotional rollercoaster one goes through during the holidays can be dangerous,” explained Stefanie Wolownik, Wyoming Valley Alcohol and Drug Services.

Stefanie Wolownik with Wyoming Valley Alcohol and Drug Services says while many think of baking cookies and decorating the Christmas tree, others have a dimmer light surrounding what we call “the most wonderful time of year.”

“They don’t have those things to look forward to. They disconnected with friends and family. Maybe they lost jobs because of COVID and they still can’t get their footing on this. Whether it’s chronic depression or acute depression because it’s situational, a lot of times people end up self-medicating using alcohol or other drugs.” said Wolownik.

It is a wonderful thing to know that recovery is possible, as people are seen doing it every single day.

“The stories of recovery are phenomenal to hear. That’s why we post them on our Facebook every day to give people hope,” Wolownik said.

Eyewitness News spoke with some people who have been through recovery and they are grateful for it.

“It’s something that I could’ve never imagined and it would not be possible if it wasn’t for recovery,” said Brandon.

“The ability to change the things in me that I thought would never change and felt imprisoned me. It’s amazing to discover that you hold the key to your own lock and you’ve had it all this time,” Melissa said.

“I feel like I’m a good father today and a good husband and a good son. My family, my work, my recovery, and helping others are all the things I really need and want. I meant there’s a lot of other things that I enjoy, but really that’s the meat of my day today and I couldn’t be happier about it,” said Tim

Proof that recovery is possible.