“I want to help people. I didn’t know people could have hope and recover,” said Ajha Stanley, this afternoon in the lobby of their Portland apartment building. That’s why she’s committed to volunteer as a recovery coach – where her insights will support and guide others going through a kind of hell Afha knows only too well.
It’s been reported that in 2016 there were 63,600 deaths from overdoses – a 21% increase from 2015 in the US.
Afha will be attending a 30-hour training course on Friday, January 5th and Saturday, January 6th in Rockland. The session – Saving Souls – is hosted by the Mid-coast Recovery Coalition. The trainer for this continuing series is Dr. Ira Mandel, of Rockland.* Afha is excited about giving back to a part of the State particularly hard hit by the opiod crises and that has so few resources to deal with it. Afha wants to make a difference and she will.
At the age of 21 years old, she has already experienced life in terms far beyond what most experience in a lifetime. When she was 13 years old, Ajha was expelled from the eighth grade on Mt. Desert Island for doing drugs – heroin. When she was a sophomore in high school, she dropped out. Although she never sold drugs, she knew plenty of people who did. She overdosed numerous times and one of those times she was revived by Narcon on MDI in her parents kitchen. “I’d be dead if it weren’t for Narcon.”
But last January she got into rehab in Portland at Liberty Bay Recovery Center. It was a very intense experience that lasted three months. “They tear you down and then build you back up,” Afha said. “I would not have gotten through this without Will,” she said smiling at her boyfriend sitting next to her on a couch. Will Bakker, 29, understands what Afha has come through.
The affable Will has likewise been through rehab for his addictions. His recovery took place out-of-state – in a place that he would not recommend because of its lack of supervision over the thirty or so residents. One time he and a friend climbed over a wall intended to keep them from getting out to get to town to buy drugs. His friend, Tyler, died climbing over the wall. “It was not a place I’d recommend to any one, but I was in a hurry to get well as soon as possible,” he said. “I didn’t research the place well at all.” At 6’6″ ft. tall and weighing in currently at 260 lbs., Will was a former defensive end on the Camden Hills High School football team. He is a fisherman on the Portland based Ocean Venture during the summer and does carpentry work during the off-season in the mid-coast region. They live part-time in Portland.
“We are kicking one vice at a time,” joked Will referring to their habit of cigarette smoking.
- The training session scheduled for Friday, January 5th – Saturday, January 6th is located at The Recovery Coach Academy, L.I.F.E. Ministries, 336 Limerick Street, Rockland. For more information, please call (207) 701-1182 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please google Dr. Ira Mandel, Rockland, for more information on the training session.