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I’m the youngest child of 5 brothers and 5 sisters – but the only child of my mother and father, who married in their early forties. My father, Fredrick Stone was Irish with his family coming to Vancouver from Montreal, Quebec after their immigration from Ireland. He had lost custody of his three children from a previous relationship because of his alcoholism and with my birth, vowed to be a better man. As a baby and toddler, he was a constant source of love and protection, taking care of my every need and planting a unshakable confidence in me that I was very loved. Unfortunately, he was unable to find work, became depressed and eventually returned to drinking alcoholically, leading to the separation of his marriage with my mother. He visited me very Sunday, but lived and died alone in an SRO (Single Room Occupancy) in The DTES (Downtown Eastside) of Vancouver, BC.
My mother Molly Lyons (nee Craig) was raised in Kamloops, BC by her Indigenous mother from the Okanagan Band and her father who was First Nations from Missouri, USA. I identify myself as a Metis woman, but am still learning about my family history as my mother lost her Indian status due to her mother’s marriage. My mother was a peaceful, quiet woman who raised me "in the native way" which was natural consequences for my actions and a love and respect for God, family and nature. She was a wonderful example of God's forgiveness, grace and unconditional love, inspiring many with her commitment and service within her Catholic Church and community. My mother LOVED to garden and found solace and purpose in growing an elaborate English garden that bloomed and produced all year round that was the pride and joy of her family. I will be forever grateful to God that I was able to know and love my mother as my very best friend before her death in February 2013. Sadly, my older brother, Michael died of a heroin overdose one year later, days after the one year anniversary of her death.
Growing up, I felt alone being raised in “neglect by circumstance” as everyone left home except for my one half-brother, Michael, who struggled with mental illness and his addiction to heroin. I grew up in poverty and shame and convinced myself that hard work would overcome it. I have always prided myself on being a hard worker, but spent most of my young adult life without a sense of direction, working a union job as a “party girl” who no one really knew, least of all myself. I got pregnant with my first child in 2001. During the pregnancy and after the birth of my son, while living in a fear-based relationship, I opened my heart and mind to a belief in God, amid questions around my personal identity and my life's direction and purpose. In that search, I got very lost until I had a spiritual experience that gave me a sense of power and direction.
Looking back, writing my creative non-fiction memoir, A Reflection of Love ~ A Different Kind of Love Story helped me do the hard internal work of knowing myself and God, with the hope of helping others navigate similar paths. I wish I could say it was my idea, but I truly believe my memoir was an idea inspired by God, to end one chapter of my life, in order to begin the next because it required me to enter into a personal recovery process.
My recovery process has included trying to integrate my absolute belief in the love of God, religious ideas of God and personal struggles with addiction and mental health issues into a woman with self-awareness and integrity that lives in a way that is authentic to me, based upon my own values and beliefs. This has been my process and it has been no easy task.
Ms Recovery Writes is an extension of my own writing, radio and political work with the hope to build an online platform where women can share their lived experience honestly and openly, to INSPIRE & ADVOCATE for social & political change in recovery, addiction and mental health issues.
Thanks for letting me share. Please visit often!