Recovery Lasts a Lifetime: NH woman celebrating 37th year of sobriety
MANCHESTER — In our continuing coverage of the heroin and opioid crisis, NH1 News is airing a series of stories of recovery and hope.
"I have 37 years of continuous sobriety and I like to say that because there's a lot of people that don't know that there's people who can maintain that length of sobriety," Deb Cross said.
In her decades of recovery she's heard stories of sobriety and success, but part of what drives her mission to help others was devastation in her own family.
"I watched my younger sister die of this disease three years ago and it was horrible," she said.
Now Deb runs a cable access show called Celebration of Life Studio. Her opinions are based on what she calls the older Alcoholic's Anonymous model. She says addicts need tough love and they need to accept responsibility.
"If you go to AA and/or 12-step program they will teach you how to stay sober," she said. "They will teach you how to say no to a doctor that's over prescribing."
While AA asks members to remain anonymous, amid the addiction crisis in the state, Deb decided she needed to speak out.
She supports funding residential programs but thinks there have been times when too much emphasis is placed on funding expensive recovery centers, when she believes many could benefit from a 7 to 10-day detox and out patient support like AA.
She wants family and friends to draw a hard line, but said it's critical to support the person as they navigate long term recovery. She also stresses the importance of preventing the next generation from taking the wrong path by asking one simple question: "What do you need from us and how can we help?"
"If we put ownership and a lot of this on them and they can be partners with us, I think they're going to be more willing to be part of the solution."