BANGOR — It wasn’t easy for Melody Paul to talk about how her drug use contributed to the death of her friend and fellow heroin user.
“I dedicate this book to Georgianna Michaud,” Paul said. “She’s the lady that overdosed and I was a part of that problem.”
Paul spent a year at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham for furnishing drugs to Michaud and like many users, she relapsed after being released and was sent back behind bars.
“In the jail cell, there I started to realize that I can do better than this. I can make this change,” she said Monday, seated along the waterfront.
Now, two years later, the Micmac woman has taken charge of her life. She has written a book titled, “Savaged to Wellness” and is helping others down the path to recovery.
“It’s easy for me to see people who are down and out. I remember how far down I was and that there actually is a solution and it does work,” she said.
Paul and her boyfriend, who is Michaud’s brother, said the message is especially important right now with so many drug overdose deaths in the Bangor area.
“There was quite a bit of fentanyl-laced heroin going around the area and quite a few people that were using overdosed from it. Some died, didn’t make it, and some got Narcanned and their lives were saved,” said Charles Michaud, who also is in recovery.
Since Jan. 1 there have been 67 overdoses in Bangor and four of the seven that were fatal happened around the beginning of August.
In the last week, Michaud said, others have died.
“There is help out here if they desire to stop this life they are living. They can really make a change,” he said.
The road to recovery is not easy, but it’s worth the work, said Paul. She is donating a portion of the proceeds from her book sales to the Bangor Area Recovery Network, known as the BARN.
“Go to the local recovery center in your area and just say you don’t want to do what you are doing anymore ’cause it’s hurting everybody, including yourself,” Paul said.
She attained recovery through Wellbriety — a natural order of healing where the individual comes first, then the family, community and then the native nation. Those who attend local Wellbriety meetings, hosted by Paul every Thursday, get a coin on their first day with the word ‘Desire’ on one side.
“Healthy habits. Change the bad habits. Gets those out and start developing new habits,” Paul said.
She added, “You can do better. You can change your life. There is a way, there is a solution.”