- This event has passed.
July 23 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm| Free
A walk around Ellistion Park in suppprt of mental health, addictions, and recovery. We are accepting donations for this event going towards outreach in the community by RMUC
John’s Journey is about a charismatic man and person whom throughout his life, dealt with addictions, mental health, and personal struggles that many people may currently struggle with in their own lives today. John was a brilliant man, loving brother, and son, and was much loved by his family and friends who empathized and understood his plight but could not help him no matter how much they tried. John’s Journey is a walk for not only the memory of his life and struggles, but it is a walk for everyone else who struggles with or has family and friends that have addictions and mental health issues. John’s Journey is not to celebrate the ending; it is a walk towards a fresh start, a new journey filled with the promise of hope, health, wellness, understanding, healing, and faith for everyone that deals with these issues in their lives.
John began having issues as a teenager starting with marijuana which led to alcohol and more serious drugs such as cocaine, crack, and meth, and although his family tried to help him, he could not find a way to resolve his personal struggles and addictions.
John did find a reprieve for several years; he married, had remarkable success financially and in his career, had the fortune to travel to many countries throughout his career and taught leading individuals his programs and expertise. John led a life filled with love, success, achievement, and John grew to be the top within his trade. Even today, his contributions, work, and programs are still used within the oil and gas industry by top organizations.
People that new John will tell you what a great guy he was, what a profound sense of humour he had, and what great faith and love he had for God and everyone. John was so approachable that he would bring strangers home starting at an early age for supper, much to the surprise of his parents. John was always willing to lend a hand and help no matter what it was you asked him to do, John would jump right in and get it done. John had the gift of talk; he was called the Word Meister by all that knew him, and he could weave a story and hold his audience until the end of the story. John loved to be the centre of attention, letting you know that he was there creating a passage of energy when he entered a room. John was vibrant, alive, teeming with energy, and always needed to do something to funnel his energy.
The troubles that John faced are known to many today and like many today, John was bound by his need to have alcohol and drugs as a means of dealing with everyday life. John was also diagnosed in his 40’s with bipolar disorder, a mental disorder that affects 1% of youth from the age of 15 years and older. Bipolar statistics indicated that,
• “About 1 in 50 adults aged 25-44 years or 45-64 years reported symptoms consistent with bipolar disorder at some point in their lifetime. The proportion of men and women who met the lifetime criteria for bipolar disorder decreased slightly with age according to the 2002 Mental Health and Wellbeing Survey, Statistics Canada;
• Nine out of 10 Canadians who reported symptoms that met the 12-month criteria for bipolar disorder (86. Nine percent) reported that the condition interfered with their lives. (2002 Mental Health and Wellbeing Survey, Statistics Canada)
• While most people with bi-polar disorder (or depression) will not commit suicide, the risk of suicide among those with bipolar disorder is higher than in the general population.” (Canada, 2009)
Through his life John entered many addiction programs dedicated to helping individuals with both mental health and drug and alcohol issues, he was the top valedictorian, achieving sobriety for a brief time but he always relapsed. John could have taught the classes that helped him to try to overcome his personal addictions, which is how great he was; John strived for the best, excelled at being the best but could never vanquish his personal addictions. Statistics in Canada for Alcohol and Drug use indicate that:
“(a)bout 4% of Canadians could be considered alcoholics. In the past decade, about 600,000 Canadians have become physically dependent on alcohol. An approximate 2,000 people die each year from liver disease, all of which are brought about by alcoholism. Many of those who have found comfort in alcohol have also used illegal drugs to top everything off.” (S, 2019)
Addiction is a complicated process and these forms of substance use and behaviours can affect a person’s life. Addiction is compulsive use of a stimuli (alcohol, gambling, cocaine, meth, crack, et) despite harmful and adverse effects and outcomes. It is estimated that 5% of the world’s population has used an illegal substance and, “240 million people around the world use alcohol problematically, and approximately 15 million people use injection drugs.” (S, 2019)
These addictions may cause both physical and/or psychological damage and dependence. There are four important signs when talk about addiction: craving, Loss of control of amount and frequency of use, need to use, and repeated substance use despite the outcomes. In Canada, almost 21% of the population (six million people) will meet the criteria for addiction use with alcohol being the most used substance at 18 percent. Marijuana has one of the highest rates of use in the world with 40 percent of Canadians experimenting and using cannabis and ten pe cent using it in the past year. (Association, 2022)
The addictions that held John lasted from his teenager years until December 27, 2021, when he was found deceased, alone, without anything other than the clothes on him. His family was notified of his death and although it was a shock, it was not unexpected, you see, John had been spiralling for years in the clutches of his personal addictions and mental health issues. John had contemplated and even attempted suicide before, but as to the reason for his death, it is unknown what was the main cause, his use of alcohol, drugs, or something else. His family is still waiting for the Medical Examiners report to verify what may have happened to him. This is something that is a constant for his family, wondering what happened and hoping it was not self inflicted.
In memory, we are holding the first annual walk for him and everyone else that has endured similar issues and losses: John’s Journey. All proceeds will go to Robert McClure United Church. Because John had such great spiritual faith, we have decided to dedicate any donations to this organization because they are open to all individuals, regardless of age, race, gender, personal struggles, and personal identity. Robert McClure United Church reaches out to those less fortunate and provides an open door for healing, faith, raising awareness about causes, and provides selflessly towards the community.
We hope to raise awareness regarding mental health and addiction and recovery issues because no one should have to be alone, no family member should ever have to hear that their family member has passed because of addictions that can lead to early death, and no one should feel like they cannot reach out for help to find resources and a helping had that may provide the necessary tools and resources to assist them to greater health and stability.
Without assistance nothing can be done to overcome or assist those that need the aid towards a better path and this walk is dedicated to that goal!
Help by contributing a donation towards John’s Journey! Get your walking shoes on and join us for a walk at Elliston Park! Bring your dogs and enjoy the event with them! Share your stories with others who have dealt with these issues! It is with immense joy that I reach out to all of you to embrace and celebrate towards a brighter path that may guide someone to a place where they can achieve success and feel whole! Let’s bring more awareness to this critical issue!
Written by: Laura L. Strain (Sister)
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