By Andrea Arnold

Residents struggling with addiction will have the option of attending a once-a-week support group held at the Library. Meeting facilitator, Mel Purdy, has a personal passion for seeing people get the support they need through recovery. Purdy will be one month shy of 15.5 years sober from all substances when the first meeting convenes on Fri. Sept. 30th.

“I had been living life in circles and getting nowhere,” said Purdy. “I gave up a child because I was not able to care for him. I moved to Calgary and began the recovery process and haven’t looked back.”

Purdy moved to the Valley about a year ago. This spring Purdy realized there are no support groups in the Robson Valley, and she began taking steps to remedy the problem. In June, along with a few other members of the community, Purdy travelled to Kamloops for meetings. While attending meetings there, she picked up some literature and supplies to start a program in McBride.

“I wanted to provide support for anyone who is struggling,” she said. “No one can make it through the program alone. We need to have support, and not feel alone.”

Although the meetings will begin with a Narcotics Anonymous focus as that’s the material Purdy has received, anyone with an addiction to any mind-altering substance is welcome. Also, anyone living with or providing support to a person with an addiction is welcome to attend the meetings. If there is enough interest for a group that focuses on other types of addictions, Purdy is open to the possibility of starting another meeting.   

The meetings will allow people to gather and read addictions based literature that Purdy will provide. Together, they will focus on life without substances. Purdy explained that during meetings, they will pick a topic like honesty, addiction, or relapse and provide attendees the freedom to talk instead of turning to drink or drugs. They can discuss ways to combat the desire to use. Purdy appreciates the opportunities to go explore in nature that are available to her now that she lives in the valley, and hopes that she can encourage others to head out on adventures instead of using. 

Purdy and her young son Daryl often spend Sundays exploring forestry roads and chasing waterfalls. 

“My drug of choice is my son Daryl,” she said. “The high I get from being around him is better than any substance.”

Purdy has been in many treatment centres during her battle with addiction. Since becoming sober she has earned a diploma as a Drugs and Alcohol Treatment Specialist.

“I’ve always liked helping others,” she said. “I want to start meetings to give back and provide support.”

If there is demand and available meeting space, Purdy would like to offer a second meeting time each week. If you want more information, she can be contacted at 403-334-2727.