JACKSON, Mich. — Nearly 200 people died from drug overdoses in Jackson County between 2016 and 2018.
It's part of the reason Uni Cunningham decided to open Raven’s Coaching to give people an opportunity to get out of the hands of addiction and on the road to recovery.
“The name Raven has religious meaning. In the Old Testament of the Bible, ravens were considered unclean and people were to avoid them. They were untouchables,” Cunningham said. “Then God began to use the raven to help others. In the same way, people in recovery are treated as outcasts, as the untouchables. Yet, God wants to use them and declared them clean.”
Cunningham herself has struggled in the past with what she calls an addiction to mind-altering substances.
“Myself having addictions and coming from my parents having addictions as well, I eventually just had enough and I wanted to change my life. So, I sought out help and resources, and slowly but surely people rallied around me and helped me,” Cunningham said.
She is 13 years sober and considers herself to be in long-term recovery.
According to data from Drug-Free Jackson, there have been at least 170 emergency drug-related overdose hospital visits each year between 2016 and 2018.
“Six years ago the number one killer of white males between the ages of 25 to 40 was overdose in Jackson. That was just six years ago. Those stats have completely changed but there are still a lot of people in need of recovery. They just aren’t overdosing as much because we have task forces put in place and a lot of other resources,” Cunningham said.
The pandemic was another reason Cunningham wanted to start her own resource for people seeking help.
“The pandemic has really brought out those addictions. The one thing we learned throughout our recovery is the important need for community. The pandemic shut that down in the beginning. There wasn’t really community. We all had to scramble and try to figure out because meeting is our lifeline,” Cunningham said.
She said addiction is something some people struggle with their entire lives, "the question becomes whether you will be active in that addiction or whether you will use the tools and resources to walk out with sobriety."
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