Throughout the day, we will have a variety of guest speakers talking about specific topics surrounding mental health issues and addictions. Our speakers work in the addictions field, health care, politics, are in recovery themselves, and advocates.
Mackenzie Phillips – American Actress and author of the courageous New York Times bestselling memoir High on Arrival, and her equally successful book, Hopeful Healing: Essays on Managing Recovery and Surviving Addiction, is also currently enjoying her role as ‘Barb’ in Season 6 / Netflix, Orange Is The New Black and another Netflix show reuniting with series creator Norman Lear for the revival of One Day At A Time.
Phillips rose to fame with breakout parts in 1973's American Graffiti and '70s sitcom One Day at a Time and is now making a different impact as a director at the Breathe Life Healing Center in Los Angeles where she specializes in trauma, drug, and alcohol treatment and recovery.
The daughter of The Mamas and the Papas lead singer John Phillips, Mackenzie a survivor of substance abuse and a visible and outspoken advocate for addiction awareness and education who brings her knowledge and voice on the subject of recovery and shares her experiences for those who are trying to overcome addiction.
Mackenzie Phillips grew up in a dysfunctional environment and subsequently battled a near-fatal drug addiction. She presents the wisdom she gained from her own personal journey through addictions and her understanding of practical treatment from her work as a rehabilitation counselor. Using her own life experiences as examples of proven recovery methods, she shares the tools and holistic approaches that are available to help those on their way to recovery.
Greta Waples grew up in River Heights. She was an elite athlete all of her life. Waples chose to pursue speed skating after high school and moved out to Calgary. She was taking Kenis and Psych while training and competing. At 16, she sustained an injury to her left leg and when she turned 21, she injured it again forcing her into retirement and with a myriad of mental health complications.
Waples became angry at the world and couldn’t deal with anything so she partied it away (cocaine was her main drug of choice, but she did everything). She endured more trauma than anyone should have to endure in 100 lifetimes. Her best friend Karla overdosed and committed suicide when they were 24 years old. Waples went back out into addiction harder than before. She says was trying to reclaim her life on my own and it was not working. She went to school, got a journalism diploma, level 1 and 2 sommeliers, did events, marketing, media, became a personal trainer and certified weight loss and nutrition coach.
Though, nothing she did made her happy enough to save herself. After her last bender, she couldn’t believe she was still alive and was very suicidal. Waples checked in to suicide watch and detox. She didn’t want to put anyone through what she went through with her friend Karla. She went to long-term in-patient trauma rehab, moved back to Winnipeg to be with her family and became very involved with St. Raphael Wellness Centre (SRWC).
Waples went through their programs as a participant and learned to love herself again and set goals for a future she never thought she would have. Last year, Waples wanted to start Recovery Day Winnipeg as the city was the only major city that didn’t have one in Canada. She worked with SRWC to get it together in no time. Waples was the emcee, SRWC got official proclamation and the event is dear to her heart.
She want to share the joy and hope in recovery and continue to dissipate the stigma. Waples will be two years sober on September 13th. No slips, mental health is stable and is excited about her future. She is starting her social work degree at Booth University this fall, ultimately she would like to get a masters and make policy changes to improve Manitoba’s mental health systems. The past year Waples worked with SRWC doing events, media, fundraising, PR, co-facilitating groups--basically everything. Currently, she is doing a six-month placement through REES that will end in November. Her last knee surgery was July 15th and is hoping it will be her last for good.
Dave Nokinsky was born in 1975, in Meadow Lake Saskatchewan. He was adopted by a wonderful loving family in Swan Plain, Saskatchewan. His brother and sister, both adopted as well, are eight years older than him.
As Nokinsky grew up, he noticed that his skin was darker than his siblings and friends in school, one of his memories is of him scrubbing his hands and arms to try to make them whiter so he would look more like everyone else in school. Unlike the people around him, Nokisnky had black curly hair which he hated because everyone else had smooth and lighter hair, so at a young age he hated the way he looked. Even though he was adopted into a very loving and caring family, he felt like he didn’t belong in the community.
At 17 years old, he fell into a deep depression and had thoughts of suicide. He shared his feelings with his best friend, my brother, him, and his wife who were living in Alberta. His brother agreed to let him move in with them so he can escape the turmoil at home. It was here that he starting drinking and using drugs heavily. After about a year of living with his brother, he met the love of his life and decided to get clean.
Over the years, the two married and moved often, forcing him away from his friends and started to resent his wife because of it. The two eventually moved back to where they lived where he started using cocaine and drinking again. His wife gave him the ultimatum to go to Alcohol Anonymous (AA) or to get a divorce. He stayed sober for a few months then started using again, lying and hiding it from his wife.
Several years later, he learned that he was half Indigenous and wanted to know who his biological parents were. Through social media, he reached out and received a reply almost immediately. However, the reply from his mother read, “leave the past in the past, forget I exist”. Devastated, broken hearted, and angry, Nokinsky thought, ‘how could you do this to me, again’. Things in his life turned for the worse and started drinking and abusing drugs heavily.
He asked his biological cousins about his father and found out that his mother was raped. It didn’t matter who tried to help, including his wife, Nokinsky decided to move out to do crack, meth, and heroin. His family didn’t realize the extent of his addiction. In Edmonton, he was trying to find drugs while he was driving drunk and got arrested. When leaving the police station, he called his brother saying he wanted to commit suicide, then called his sister who was living in Manitoba. She immediately drove out to pick him up and got him into Aurora Recovery Centre.
Through choosing love as his healing tool, he was able to overcome childhood traumas that led to eating disorders and an addiction battle that nearly costed him his life.
He has joined forces with Inspire to create a program called Remedy that fundraises money for at-risk youth to learn creative aspects of music in order to boost their mental health and give them hope.
To hear his story , you can click the link below !
Jonathan Meikle was born 19 August 1989. He is an Afghanistan war veteran, currently working towards his diploma in Social Innovation and Community Development at the Red River College. He is a loving father/co-parent to his beautiful son Cohen Meikle.
Meikle grew up in the northern community of Norway House Cree Nation, 800 km North of Winnipeg. There, he experienced what it was like to live with the social difficulties that the Indigenous communities in Canada are faced with as a result of Canadian government’s darker past. Due to his lack of coping skills and lack of identity, he gravitated towards a lifestyle scattered with violent situations and substance abuse. Meikle’s struggles with identity were amplified by his time in the military. Upon release, the deterioration of his mental health was most prominent, leading him to problems within the criminal justice system.
After landing himself in jail, Meikle made the decision to change for the better. With the help of Veterans Affairs, he checked himself into a residential treatment facility, where he would stay for the duration of two months. Upon release, he stayed true to his commitment to sobriety and better living, diving into programs in the community that would aid himself in his recovery. With new perspectives on life, Meikle pledged to himself that he would help others where he felt fit to do so, giving his most honest effort to being an active member in the community.
Meikle is very involved in the community, volunteering with Winnipeg’s Bear Clan Patrol, representing OPK, being active in addictions programs, learning about his traditional ways and advocating for solutions to Indigenous issues. He also keeps in top physical condition with his competitive boxing out of Stingers Boxing Academy. Meikle accredits all his energy invested into the community to being what builds on and maintains his recovery.
Meikle believes he is living proof that people can change drastically for the better. He also believes that through unity, forgiveness, love and understanding we can do better for the people that struggle to be find a better life for themselves. It is his values and beliefs that push him in working towards his aspirations of becoming involved in community solutions aimed at helping young people who struggle in the cycle of the criminal “justice” system.
He has presented a TEDx Winnipeg talk titled “Acknowledge the Story Behind the Label”.
As further testament to his character, Meikle received recognition from the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, the Silver Medal of Bravery Award from the Royal Canadian Humane Association and a Members Statement from the Manitoba Legislative Assembly for his actions in intervening in a dangerous situation on a Winnipeg Transit bus.
Angela Taylor is Inspire Community Outreach’s Chief Executive Office (CEO) and Founder. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Manitoba, with a major in psychology and a minor in sociology.
She has her Post Bacc in education, focusing on inclusion, and a Masters in Disability Studies from the University of Manitoba. Angela raises four children and celebrates psychological, cognitive and neurological differences within her family. She says her children have been her best teacher, and support her to learn about how each of us need additional support at different times in our lives, to use our gifts and talents to grow.
Kelly Krawchuk grew up in Winnipeg Manitoba with his sister and parents. He has married been married to his wife Tara Stratton for over 20 years - the proudest accomplishment of Kelly’s Life.Kelly started drinking and using drugs when he was around 12 years old. His drug use made him non-introverted, like the rest of his family. Up until about a year ago Kelly honestly thought that most people started drinking at 12 years old, until his therapist informed him otherwise.
Krawchuk was a hockey player growing up and when he was about 13 years old his dad read him a book called Psycho-Cybernetics, the only book he ever read from front to back. It was about will power and the power of the mind. So, when Krawchuk drank and did drugs heavily from the 12 years old to 30 years old, he thought was pretty much able to accomplish pretty much anything he put his mind to.
His first real job out of university was in Atlanta Georgia and Huntsville Alabama. He was also sent to Toronto to open their first Canadian office. He was 25 years old making $150,000 a year. Then one day a situation came up and he was asked if he wanted to try crack cocaine, so he agreed to do it. Then it was once a month, then once every three weeks, then once twice a week, then one week he started using it every two days. His addiction escalated to the point where he was using almost constantly. In less than a year Krawchuk left his job, moved back to Winnipeg, attended 28 days in a program through Addictions Foundation Manitoba, and claimed
bankruptcy for about $65,000. dollars.
For the next 20 years he was a functioning crack addict who was trying to get sober. Stratton and Krawchuk married and moved to Souris, Manitoba where they ran a couple of small businesses. During this time, he would use every so often, and each time would cost about $1000 to $2000. When they moved back to Winnipeg his addiction seemed to have subsided until he starting to travel for work. The lonely road time led him back to using crack cocaine again. Even though he was trying to keep clean, he was unable to get 90 days during the last two years of him being in active addiction. His last few relapses started costing between $5,000 to $6,000 and would go on for three to five days. Krawchuk had to smoke faster so he could keep his mind blank and not let the ugly true thoughts enter his conscious.
His addiction led to using methamphetamine, which caused him to have a five-day bender in Saskatchewan. However, his drug use and self-reflection started to change. While coming down from the bender, he started to have suicidal thoughts. He was sick of hurting the same people for 20 years. He was mentally ill. In his 20 years of using, he assumed he would never be caught for using. However, he got caught 95 to 98 per cent of the time.
So Krawchuk decided it was time to change, started to work to becoming a person. That decision just might save his life. Krawchuk takes on different speaking opportunities because he wants is a chance to perhaps
help someone so they don’t have to go through the torture that he went through with his active addiction. “Living sober is an absolutely wonderful way to live, Kelly says. “I feel blessed to presently have my active addiction in his past.”