Two former addicts to address Rotary on recovery

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AUBURN — Jesse Harvey and Eric Skillings will speak on drug use and recovery at the L-A Rotary Lunch Club meeting at noon Thursday, May 31, at the Village Inn.

Harvey, a Certified Intentional Peer Support Specialist (CIPSS), is founder of Journey House Sober Living. He works full time as peer support coordinator for Greater Portland Health and volunteers as Chapter Lead of Young People in Recovery-Portland. Harvey is a member of the Health Equity Alliance board of directors and serves on numerous other boards and committees.

A decade of drug use, marked in the end by trauma, psychosis, incarceration and extreme isolation, brought Harvey to a dark place. After several overdoses and suicide attempts, he was involuntarily committed for a fifth time into a treatment facility in a Massachusetts state prison. In mid-2015 he was discharged to a Portland recovery house and, with the support of his peers and with opportunities for growth, he began to rebuild his life.

Today Harvey is a passionate recovery advocate who seeks to improve communities by advocating for and implementing low-cost, low-barrier and evidence-based public health interventions.

Skillings grew up a broken kid who did not know how to deal with his emotions. He turned to alcohol at a young age after the divorce of his parents. In that bottle, Skillings found relief from his childhood for the first time. He was in and out of jails starting at the age of 11, and when he was a young adult, he was injured in a work accident and became dependent on prescribed opioids. It wasn’t long before he went to prison as a direct result of his Substance Use Disorder (SUD).

Skillings was defeated by the disease but luckily found help through a nine-month rehab program in prison. Upon release he became involved in the southern Maine recovery community, and today he has three years of recovery and co-owns and manages Journey House Sober Living’s two Sanford recovery houses.

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Reservations are not required at the luncheon. FMI on future Rotary speakers, contact President and Program Chairwoman Monica Millhime, 207-713-7045 or millhime@myfairpoint.net. Events and other club information are posted at www.lewistonauburnrotary.org and www.facebook.com/lewistonmainerotary/.

Jesse Harvey, left, and Eric Skillings will be the guest speakers at the L-A Rotary Lunch Club on May 31.

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