Sharing stories can help recovery

10/04/2019 By Sue Cody

September was Recovery Month, a time to increase awareness and understanding of mental and substance use disorders and celebrate the people who recover, says SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration).

Throughout the month, many activities focused on suicide prevention and recovering from substance use disorders. On Sept. 21, Jordan’s Hope for Recovery, along with partners, sponsored a Recovery Rally and Fun Run/Walk, where the community shared resources, stories, music and food.

Sharing stories of recovery is a powerful way to inspire others in seeking a path to recovery. SAMSHSA reports, “When you share your recovery journey and how your recovery has impacted those around you, you show people they are not alone.”

Oregon State Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum spoke at the event, held at Astoria Middle School. Several people in recovery from substance use disorders shared their stories.

Tamee’s story

Tamee Harden, a recovering alcoholic of seven years, said she was reluctant to share her story “because of a pack of young humans sitting on a table over here. I am their school librarian.

“I got here because I was desperate and afraid. I had a different career and couldn’t do my job without being loaded all the time. Fear-based anxiety was constant.

Toward the end of her drinking career, Tamee had started to destroy things around her — and, on the day she decided to quit drinking, was in a desperate place. “I had a handgun and a plan. And I had a phone. I called the one friend who I knew was capable of talking me off the ledge, but if she didn’t answer, I was done.”

Luckily, the friend did answer. Tamee said she wasn’t totally committed to recovery, but 60 days in, she received a phone call with the news that her four youngest nieces and nephews were homeless again She retrieved them. And they now call her mom.

“Be careful what you ask your higher power to do for you,” she cautioned. “I asked for a reason to keep going, and I got four kids.” Laughter erupted from the crowd.

About Jordan’s Hope for Recovery

Recovery 3

Kerry Strickland started Jordan’s Hope for Recovery ( three years ago after losing her son Jordan to a heroin overdose. She is now active in promoting harm reduction locally and presenting at opioid conferences and other events statewide.

By emphasizing that addiction is a disease, removing the stigma, sharing stories and connecting people with helpful resources, the organization supports individuals and families in a path recovery.

Attorney General Rosenblum met Kerry at an opioid conference in Bend and said at the Astoria rally that she would continue the state’s lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin. The lawsuit is an ongoing battle to address the harm caused by the opioid crisis.

She said, “I feel wonderful and honored to be here and be part of this event. Jordan’s Hope for Recovery’s approach, the motto, the expression of the idea that this is a disease, that you’re not alone and we can be with you all the way is such an important message. It sometimes gets lost in the shuffle of the bureaucracy.

“I say thank you to the brave people who step up so we can hear their story.”

The Way to Wellville and its sponsor, Columbia Pacific Coordinated Care Organization, support healthy lifestyles, harm reduction and avenues for recovery.

Recovery support resources for Oregon’s Clatsop, Tillamook and Columbia counties, and Pacific County, Wash., are listed at

Crisis lines

  • National Substance Abuse Helpline: 800-662-4357
  • Clatsop Behavioral Healthcare: 503-325-5724
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255