LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - September is Addiction Recovery Awareness month and as part of an upcoming community conversation on addiction, two area moms are sharing their very personal stories.
Lorie and Jean come from different parts of the country, but they share something in common: both of their children spent years dealing with substance abuse.
Jean's 30-year-old daughter is six years clean after an opioid addiction.
Lorie's 29-year-old son is still trying to recover after 8 years of substance abuse.
They know addiction is challenging, which is why they're trying to help others by sharing their stories.
"My son was a good student, an athlete, well liked, college was just something different I guess, it all happened pretty fast," Lorie said.
"She basically got so sick that she got a heart valve infection and she had pneumonia and the bacteria was septic throughout her whole system," Jean said.
Jean describes her daughter could hardly walk and started losing her hair, she says if it wasn't for that terrifying hospital experience six years ago, things would be different today.
"I think she would be dead. I don't think she would still be using, I don't think she would have made it very much longer."
Jean's daughter is now clean and helping others in the community to recover.
Lorie is still fighting for the day her son is free from addiction.
"You know addiction isn't that person in the gutter, they're families like me, with handsome, talented sons and daughters."
Lorie's pain is too familiar, she lost her brother to an alcohol and cocaine overdose.
Both she and Jean want others to know addiction is a disease.
They're hoping more people will understand that it takes time to come clean, and that those who are addicted deserve a chance at life, just like the rest of us.
"There is nothing in our fibers that have us quitting on our children," Lorie said.
Lorie and Jean are also hoping to educate people in the community on all of the resources that are available to help those who are struggling with addiction.
They'll be sharing their stories and more insight on their experiences with the public this Wednesday, September 13 at the Cargill Room in La Crosse.
The event is from 6:30 to 9 p.m. and it's free.
Anyone is welcome to attend the event.
The community conversations are sponsored by Coulee Council on Addictions, Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, the La Crosse Community Foundation and the Mental Health Coalition of La Crosse.
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