By Kelsey Trotter
Eliminating Anonymity to Eliminate the Stigma of a Disease
Sometimes all it takes is a person with a passion to make a real difference. Julie Edwards had a family member who struggled with a substance use disorder. Julie searched high and low but had a hard time finding help for her family. With limited resources, she decided to create them herself and founded the West Linn Community Task Force in 2010.
Then in 2015, with unanimous community consensus, she was told to enlist Pam Pearce to take over the organization. Pam accepted, and knowing that the concerns were bigger than just her city, she, her board, and students renamed the organization Community Living Above.
Pam used her passion to exponentially grow the organization. You see, Pam has been in recovery for 24 years. That’s right, 24! This is something to celebrate, however, sometimes people keep their recovery a secret. Pam doesn’t believe in being anonymous,
“As a person in long-term recovery, I have always shared my story. I have been in recovery since I was young and have never been anonymous. This is my reality and I don’t find shame or stigma in it.”
She hopes her story will encourage others to do the same and to seek help - the earlier the better.