Ready to get help? Our Treatment Consultants are available 24/7.

An addiction recovery advocate holding the hand of a person in recovery to show support

Addiction Recovery Advocates You Should Know

There’s a lot of work involved in recovery: working through concurring disorders, unresolved guilt, and the emotional and psychological issues that come with it. There’s so much to deal with that sometimes the path to recovery feels painfully long

During this time, listening to successful recovery stories can ignite hope. It motivates us to push on. That’s why it’s helpful for people in recovery to turn to others who’ve walked the same path.

Let These 4 Addiction Recovery Advocates Inspire You in Your Journey

These four addiction recovery advocates understand what the struggle is like, and in telling their own stories, they hope to help others forge their own path:

1. Christopher Marshall

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Sans Bar (@sans_bar)

Being the only black kid in a predominantly white neighbourhood, Chris Marshall found drinking was the easiest way to fit in. So he drank through his high school and college years. 

He used alcohol to salve the anxiety and depression he was feeling. And he continued doing so until his life spiralled completely out of control. At the tender age of 23, he checked himself into rehab.

He’s been sober since 2007 and since then he’s worked as a substance use counsellor in residential and outpatient treatment centres in Austin for the last eight years. 

Aside from being an addiction recovery advocate, he is also a big proponent of mental health. Using his gift as a writer, he expressed his struggles with depression, anxiety, and self-harm through his powerful poetry and prose.

After being sober for a decade, he decided to pursue his dream of being an entrepreneur and opened up a bar. A sober bar to be precise. It’s called Sans Bar and it’s probably the only bar in existence that doesn’t serve alcoholic drinks. 

Chris tours across the United States to bring people together, producing and hosting alcohol-free social events. He said the best part about being sober is having the freedom to travel, try new hobbies, and create instead of cleaning up the messes he made when he was still alcohol-dependent.

2. Jocellyn Harvey

A close-up shot of writer and recovery advocate Jocellyn Harvey

A published author, speaker, connector, and certified success coach, you can’t tell Jocellyn Harvey went through recovery herself six years ago. 

The road that got her to be where she is today wasn’t smooth. She said her drug of choice was alcohol, and the times she did drugs, she made sure to do them all at once.

Jocellyn started as a “sophisticated” daily drinker that gradually became heavier. It came to a point where she started developing the shakes and losing mental capacity. There was even a time when she contemplated suicide.

She woke up one morning and decided she’d had enough. 

Starting her path to recovery was a personal decision that humbled her. As in most addiction recoveries, it was hard, but she used many aids to help her pull through: 

  • 12-step programs
  • Therapy
  • Spirituality and mindset
  • Creativity
  • Connecting with others
  • Getting proper sleep 
  • Going on walks
  • Simply enjoying life without a hangover

Aside from these, she also used decluttering as a recovery tool. She even wrote, “Recovering the Home” a decluttering guide for women in recovery. 

Today, her focus is to help people discover what comes next after sobriety.

3. Jen McNeely

Jen McNeely founded She Does The City, a Toronto-based website for young women who wanted a safe space to talk about topics that weren’t being addressed by mainstream media. This included addiction, depression, racism, the struggles of motherhood, and other topics women were afraid to put out in the open.

The website eventually grew to become a platform for sharing such stories in a voice that’s authentic and uncensored. Her own struggles taught her that shame, secrecy, and isolation breed negativity and prevented her from living her truth.

Jen’s goal is to redefine the face and voice of recovery. One that is inclusive and open-minded. 

She wants people to know that everyone is recovering from something. It doesn’t always have to be an addiction. But if we share our own stories and our struggles, we become stronger and more empowered.

4. Patrick Holbert

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Patrick Holbert (@theholbertreport)

Patrick Holbert was a shy kid until he realized in fourth grade that he was funny. Watching stand-up clips as he grew older made him decide to be a comedian.

He did a couple of open mics when he was in college, but unfortunately, it was also the time when he discovered drinking. He drank for nine years “like a frat boy” as he described it.

Patrick was a high-performing alcoholic. He worked hard and drank even harder. So despite the drinking problem, he still managed to show up at school and work. He managed to keep up appearances so well that when he drank, most people thought he was just having a good time. Only a handful of people really knew there was something wrong.

It was his girlfriend at the time who pushed him to go to therapy. The journey was arduous and he didn’t develop enough language or tools to express himself.

He ended up resenting his girlfriend for wanting to change his whole identity. This eventually led to their breakup. Later on, he finally made the decision himself to commit to being sober. As his therapist advised, he went to AA. 

Listening to similar stories of the people in recovery made him feel less alone. And he knew that if he kept on coming back, he would make it. 

It was five years into sobriety when he rediscovered his dream of becoming a comedian again. It became a crucial part of his healing process and today, he gets to perform every night on stage to express himself.

You Don’t Have to Struggle Alone

If there’s one thing in common among addiction recovery advocates, it’s that they weren’t alone in their recovery journey. It’s as Jen McNeely said: 

When you stop fighting addiction on your own, you realize there is a web of support that’s so tightly woven, so strong that if you lean into it, it will hold you.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse and in need of help, we’re here. 

Freedom From Addiction is one of the most innovative recovery centres in Canada led by compassionate professionals who truly understand the struggle of recovery.

Share the burden. Get in touch with us today.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *