St. John Valley

Community partners develop video to celebrate and support substance abuse recovery

FORT KENT, Maine — With annual substance abuse recovery celebrations canceled the past two years due to local COVID-19 cases, St. John Valley area community partners created a video to support those working to recover.

The University of Maine at Fort Kent Behavioral Science program, Fish River Rural Health, Life by Design and AMHC have worked collaboratively to develop the video, which can be viewed on the UMFK Facebook page

Doug Levesque, a mental health and addictions therapist at Fish River Rural Health, said in the video that recovery from substance abuse is an “exhausting and destructive battle” for those who are addicted.

“Having supports in their life is extremely important and vital in their fight,” Levesque said. “It is important for them to be treated with dignity, sensitivity, compassion and respect. Providing them with encouragement goes a long way in them being able to face and eventually conquer their disease.”  

Levesque added that relapse is a part of the recovery process for many people suffering from addiction and not a sign of failure. 

“Relapse does not erase their successes; there is no shame in beginning over again for you get a chance to build bigger and better than before,” Levesque said. “Let’s work together to eliminate the stigma around addiction in our communities and treat people with empathy and compassion.” 

Jennifer Malmborg, R.N., director of Behavioral Health at Fish River Rural Health, said there is no timeline in recovery from substance abuse. 

“Recovery is not a race,” Malmborg said. “It does not matter how long you take, as long as you do not stop. Reach out for help — you do not have to fight this battle alone.”  

The video includes resources for recovery including the following phone numbers:

Maine Statewide Crisis Line: 1-888-568-1112

Narcotics Anonymous: 1-800-974-0062

Alcoholics Anonymous: 1-800-737-6237

Statewide Al-Anon: 1-800-498-1844

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