Recover Alaska Sober Hero shares experience on recovery

Published: Mar. 31, 2022 at 5:35 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - As Sobriety Awareness Month comes to a end, one of Recover Alaska’s Sober Heroes Award winners shares his personal experience with recovery.

Wesley Brewington is one of three individuals who was recognized by Recover Alaska for the Sober Heroes Award. The aim of the project was to spread stories of recovery to help those on, or looking to start their journey to recovery.

Brewington elaborated, “I got out of incarceration in 2014. I did a couple years in jail, it was all substance related. And that’s when I really started putting my life together and really started building the life that I wanted without substances. And one thing that I really wanted to do was just give back and I really wanted to help other people. So newly in recovery from what I went through just in and out of jail a lot. You know, wanting to stop using substances but I just couldn’t. I was in a really dark place for a long time. And you know, me finding my way out of that and the people that helped me, I want to do that same thing for other people. So I started working at Cook Inlet Tribal Council as a peer support specialist in 2015 or 16. And really started meeting people where they were at people that was just like me, I was further down the road, but it was just like me, and I would just meet them where they was at and really just walk alongside them and find out what recovery look like for them. I did that for some time and met Recover Alaska. So we’ve been connected with them for some years now. And we just do cool stuff. Like we just reduce stigma, because, you know, substance abuse and substance misuse is a really big stigma around just normalizing that, you know, substance abuse doesn’t discriminate, and that it can happen to anyone.”

A large goal of projects like Sober Heroes is to help remove social stigma around substance abuse and encourage those in need of help to feel comfortable seeking it. This is accomplished by sharing stories of real experience, from real people like Wesley.

Brewington explained, “So, stigma around diabetes or stigma around cancer is totally different than stigma around substance abuse. And a lot of people, you know, in society, we don’t really talk about it, right. It’s like, you know, it’s kind of stuff in the shadows and that causes a lot of people to not reach out for help and a lot of people to fall through the cracks and ultimately, a lot of people to die that they don’t need to. So reducing stigma I think is really important because it normalizes that, you know, like, we’re human beings, and you know, we are fallible, we can reach out and ask for help, but also that substance abuse doesn’t determine, you know, who we are.”

By sharing stories and removing stigma, the goal is to save lives and help bring people to the resources to help them on their road to recovery.

Brewington remarked, “Know that you’re not alone, that it’s ok, I know what it feels like. I know that you chose to drink or you chose to use, but you didn’t choose to get addicted. And there are people out here that are willing to you know, walk alongside you. And you’re not alone.”

There are resources available for those on their journey or looking to start their journey to recovery, include Peer Support Groups, organizations like Recover Alaska, or help lines such as 907-793-3646.

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