HOPE: Helping Other Parents Endure

Two of my biggest local heroes are Shelly & Dave Yankowsky. You’ve likely seen them in the news at some point. They’ve become two of the very best addiction recovery allies in Maine.

I hope that’s how you’ll come to think of them. I know to a lot of folks they’re the couple who lost both of their kids to drug overdoses.

It’s true that Shelly and Dave faced every parent’s worst nightmare…twice. What they’re doing now is furthering their healing by serving others. They’re meeting, supporting, educating and advocating throughout the state to help other families not experience what they have.

And that’s beautiful, but they also seek kindred spirits to share with:

The Yankowsky’s are starting a grief group at the Bangor Area Recovery Network (B.A.R.N.) for parents who have experienced the death of a child/children to addiction.

Everyone needs support in grieving and adjusting to loss. It’s invaluable to connect with people who “get it.” There are many things a person simply cannot relate to unless they have personal experience. Losing a child is one of the most profound of such experiences.

We must not suffer tragedy alone. We must not allow ourselves to remain overwhelmed. Because when the world should simply stop turning…it doesn’t. We need people to lean on.

Taking care of ourselves is usually the very last thing we think of when faced with devastating loss, and yet we must. If we are to honor those who go before us, then we must live the lives they would wish for us.

We all want good to come from pain and loss. Dave & Shelly are seeking folks who want exactly that. Please join in for shared support and conversation (this is entirely for support, not professionally facilitated and entirely free of charge).

Please help us spread the word: H.O.P.E. will meet the 2nd and 4th Sundays of every month from 5-6:30 starting March 10th at B.A.R.N.

The B.A.R.N. is located at 142 Center Street in Brewer.

Jim LaPierre

About Jim LaPierre

Jim LaPierre LCSW CCS is the Executive Director of Higher Ground Services in Brewer, Maine. He is a Recovery Ally, mental health therapist and addictions counselor. He specializes in facilitating recovery (whether from addiction, trauma, depression, anxiety, or past abuse) overcome obstacles, and improve their quality of life. Jim is the cofounder of Sobernow.com an online addiction recovery program that is affordable and provides complete anonymity