‘I stand here today as a mother, a friend, a business owner and a recovering drug addict. I list that one last because it is only a portion of me; I am so much more… I always was. I just needed to ask for help and to be reminded of that again.’ – SG
Raised in Kamloops, BC, Stacey Gagnon is fairly well known in her town. She is the owner of 4 Seasons Landscaping, a busy company that does lawn and garden care in the warmer months and snow removal in the colder ones.
But behind the smiling blue eyes and smart business demeanor is a woman with a rough past and an inspiring story of courage and recovery:
“I started using because I was tired and wanted to be able to go out… but I was an addict long before that. I started with Barbies (don’t laugh). I had to have them all, one wasn’t good enough. Then I moved on to sports… I had to be good and practiced constantly, did whatever it took to play more and be better. Then it was being a mother. I had to have the cleanest house with the yummiest cookies and the coolest crafts.
More and better. That’s the way it worked and still sometimes works for me today.
I remember it all like it was yesterday. It’s not the type of thing that ever really leaves you. It’s always there in the back of your mind. I was sitting there in my kitchen, like so many other days before: alone, sleep deprived, heavily self-medicated, and broken.
Although this was a bit of a recurring pattern for me, it was somehow different. I could feel so deeply within me that if I didn’t stop using, I was going to die (and maybe even a small part of me wished I would because anything was better than the hollow feeling I felt inside).
But I could feel something else there, that was more comfortable for me. It was a voice ever so quiet and reassuring, coming from within me and telling me ‘just one more Stace, go ahead, one more won’t hurt, you might as well’. This is how the narrative always seemed to go.
For four more days this went on, until I was finally brought to my knees in complete desperation. I resorted to self harming and that’s what snapped me into taking some steps. I didn’t want to be high sitting in a bathroom cutting my legs. It wasn’t what I was born to do.
I felt so much shame and guilt for the woman who stared back at me in the mirror. I was done. I say that to say this, in my weakest moment, came the most courageous thing I have EVER done. I phoned my mom and I asked for help. I’ll say it again: I ASKED FOR HELP.
This moment of surrender was both the scariest and most assured moment that I have ever felt all at the same time. I was truly in a place I had never been before, stepping out of an aimless life into the beginning of a journey that led me to a program that saved my life.
I began to learn how to let go of the old me gently while learning how to forgive, trust, and love myself again. I learned the subtlety of progress and began to grow and heal. I was enlightened by the strength of those around me who showed me the way to discover my own worth and dignity. My outlook on everything changed, and I began to see things so differently that everything else began to come into focus.”
Stacey’s six year clean date is coming up in June. She is sharing her story in hopes of inspiring others who are struggling with similar issues. She encourages everyone to reach out and ask for help, and to take life one day at a time.
‘I would never change who I was or where I came from; it has shaped me into who I am today. Asking for help has allowed me to accept the beautiful mess that I am and I can look in the mirror and say I love this girl. If you struggle with anything: drugs, alcohol, weight, mental health, ANYTHING… I urge you to try something different.
Ask for help.’ – SG