Missouri Recovery Network celebrating former addicts

2 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago Wednesday, February 07 2018 Feb 7, 2018 Wednesday, February 07, 2018 3:11:00 AM CST February 07, 2018 in News
By: Rob Veno, KOMU 8 Reporter
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JEFFERSON CITY- The Missouri Recovery Network will give former substance abuse addicts a chance be celebrated Wednesday morning.

MRN hosts its Recovery Advocacy Day at the state capitol. The day is dedicated to sharing and celebrating stories of recovery.

"Recovery is contagious, and we hope that people catch it," said Brenda Schell, the Executive Director of MRN.

David Stoeker is one of those eager to share his story.

"I've literally died 8 times," Stoeker said.

Stoeker a former addict, now nine years in recovery, has been revived 3 times by Narcan after multiple opioid overdoses.

"The first time I used it made me numb, and I really liked being numb and not thinking about the abuse," Stoeker said.

Stoeker said he started his addiction around 7th grade. That addiction would cause his heart to stop on multiple occasions due to three overdoses, alcohol poisoning and committing suicide. After all of it, Stoeker decided to begin his recovery journey.

"I am hope filled, not hopeless," Stoeker said. "You know today I have a ton of gratitude, that I never had before, because I acknowledge the things I have, and the people I have who enable me and support me to live the life I do today."
He also said that he is proud of the man recovery has turned him into.
"Today in recovery I can actually say, 'I hope my son grows up to be a man like I am today,'" Stoeker said. "I hope my daughter grows up and marries a man like I am today. 10 years ago I would have killed somebody that dated my daughter that was like me. You know like the person I was then, so it's amazing the changes we can make, because we do get better."
Stoeker's recovery will be celebrated at Wednesday's event, but will also bring light to a larger issue. According to the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services, Missouri has a 28 percent increase in drug overdoses in 2016. That mean three Missourians will die from an overdose each day. They also reported 1 in 7 people will experience a substance abuse problem in their lifetime.
"I think it totally breaks your hear, because you think that it could be anyone at any time," Schell said.

Another piece to the event will be held at the state capitol. Those who attend will have the chance to sit down with their state legislators and talk about solutions to the ongoing opioid epidemic.

"We want to make sure there is a name and a face at the capitol, showing that people can and do recover," Schell said.

The Recovery Advocacy Day will run from 8:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Wednesday. 

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