Leisa is a member of b.well’s b.strolling group. Leisa is managing her mental wellness and recovery from alcoholism day-to-day. She is proud to have maintained her sobriety for “many” years.

A registered nurse, who has worked in emergency units, Leisa, 37 was diagnosed with complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) 11 years ago. She was “horrified and ashamed, but also relieved.”

“I’d been self-medicating for mental health with alcohol. So, when I left rehab I had no choice but to address my issues and ‘Choose Life.’ It was a life or death choice.”

Through the support of her group and her case worker, b.well’s Amanda Hewitt, Leisa said she is no longer ashamed of her alcoholism or of having mental health issues.

As one of The Buttery’s trained peer workers, Amanda has the “lived experience” of managing her own mental health and recovery.

“Because Amanda has the lived experience of recovery, you don’t need to explain yourself. She helps me put a voice to my feelings and emotions.”

“For the last three years I’ve been out and proud about it. I am part of a community of people who support each other in recovery. Our group are from all walks of life and range from their 20s to 70s. We respect each other and I’ve made friends with them. We can be ourselves and talk openly and there is no judgement.”

“I feel there is a lot of stigma attached to people with addiction and mental health challenges. This should not be.”

Leisa hopes one day to return to her chosen profession of nursing, because she said she likes caring for and nurturing people in need.

Photo: Members of the b.strolling group step out for mental wellness