Ottawa

Ottawa Recovery Day to 'provide a sense of hope' in face of addiction

It took Chris Cull seven years from the time he started using prescription pain killers to stop relying on substances — and he hopes sharing his story will help inspire others to overcome their addictions.

National movement is 'public display of the freedom from addiction'

Chris Cull (left) and Gord Garner (right) are involved in a Recovery Day Ottawa celebration happening City Hall today. (Emily Ridlington)

It took Chris Cull seven years from the time he started using prescription pain killers to stop relying on substances — a long and painful journey that included a methadone program to wean himself off the drugs.

"All through my time on methadone, standing in front of the clinic waiting to get my drink in the morning and you get called a junkie," he said. "You get looked at like you're a piece of garbage." 

Cull shared his story on Ottawa Morning ahead of Recovery Day, a celebration taking place at City Hall in Ottawa on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

It's a movement that happens of various days in September across the country "as a public display of the freedom from addiction," according to Recovery Day Canada's website. 

Listen to the full interview below.
We hear about a day for recovering addicts to come out of the shadows. 8:35

Cull said he was 22 when his father committed suicide.

"I ended up turning to percocet to numb out that pain, which escalated," he said. "I lost everything to it. My girlfriend of three-and-a-half years, my house — everything that meant anything to me."

Cull rode his bike across Canada this past summer to document stories of battling addiction.

"I want to provide a sense of hope of what can be. What you can turn it into. I know what I came from but I also know the life I live now is absolutely incredible. I've done stuff I'd never even dreamed of doing," he said. 

Gord Garner, who helped organize the event in Ottawa, hopes to flip the attention away from addiction and to recovery — a process that took him nearly 40 years.

He said the first step is recognizing you have a problem, then knowing where to get help. 

"I think if the community was there and the stigma was broken, there's young people today, people across our society that have recovery available to them if they knew that support was there," he said. 

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