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Addiction recovery center in Valatie helping save lives

June 14, 2018 06:32 PM

For a local woman, addiction ruled her life. When she needed treatment, she had to leave her community to try and get it.

They say your misery is your message. In the case of Cortney Lovell, she's now helping those in a community where she could not find help for herself.

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Lovell is a successful addiction recovery coach and businesswoman, but there was a time when her life was spiraling out of control.

"I had resigned to the idea that I was going to die addicted to drugs. That was it for me. I had no hope," she explained.

There was trauma and things began to unravel long before she started taking drugs.

"Growing up, I always had a hole in my soul," she explained.

She used academics and sports to try to fill that hole, but the void wouldn't go away.

"When I was 15, I tried alcohol at a friend's sleepover for the first time. I developed addiction very quickly from alcohol, to marijuana, to opioids by the time I was 16," she recalled.

Drugs would change the course of her life.

"Up until that point, it was like I had been walking through life freezing cold and when I took those opioids for the first time, it was like wrapping a warm blanket around me," she recalled.

In a year, she was addicted. She went from opioids to intravenous heroin use to jail. Homelessness to stints in rehab. Her mom developed cancer and on her deathbed, spoke to Lovell's emptiness.

"She told me that she loved me," she recalled. "She asked me then to just live a good life, live the life that I deserve to live."

WEB EXTRA: More of Courtney Lovell's interview -- not seen on TV

Not far from where Lovell was fighting her demons, Laurie Quinn was taking punches too. She is the mother of two adult sons in recovery.

With addiction, one person may actually be taking drugs, but it's usually a roller-coaster ride for the entire family.

They decided to partner and in January opened Our Wellness Collective in Valatie. It's the same small community where she grew up and a place without the recovery services she needed.

That meant many young people in this area – people that Lovell knew – fell through the cracks. That includes a friend she grew up with. They started using at the same time. However, the friend overdosed and left behind a beautiful little girl.

"The fact that I get to be alive today and sit here and do any kind of work and raise my children and she doesn't is not okay to me," explained Lovell. "The only difference between her and I is that I got the right support."

The pair says a lot of towns don't have recovery services.

"I feel if we had that in our community or at least somewhere in the area we had that, potentially one if not both of my boys would have started recovery sooner," pointed out Quinn.

"Laurie and I noticed this gap. There isn't enough recovery support, there isn't peer services, there isn't recovery coaching and there needs to be," suggested Lovell.

Today, Lovell travels the world, telling her story. She's also featured in a documentary and is doing what her mom urged her to do -- living a good life.

"I know that she is very proud. I know she is," assured Lovell. "I wish she got to be here to see some of this, but I know she's watching."


MORE INFORMATION: Our Wellness Collective

Credits

Elaine Houston

Copyright 2018 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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