Breaking the addiction stigma through a pandemic

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – The big picture is that COVID-19 is impacting us all in one way or another. A local photographer is reminding us that while one issue arises, that it doesn’t get rid of others.

Back in March, we introduced you to Dez Murray, a local photographer who is using her platform to highlight people with recovering from addiction in an effort to break the stigma on the subject. While COVID-19 has put her in-person photo shoots on pause, that hasn’t stopped her from finding another way to share their stories.

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words.

“It leaves a lot to interpretation and people taking what they can from it,” Recovering Addict Adam Authier said.

When it comes to talking about addiction, recovering addict Adam Authier says the words are difficult to find.

“Really opening up about some of those battles that you have and that, you know, sometimes, it’s not easy to go from one place to another,” Authier said.

Helping him get there is local photographer Dez Murray. Earlier in the year, she was highlighting those in recovery through her photo series ‘Breaking Stigma.’ But the COVID-19 pandemic has forced her to re-frame her approach in the form of a live web chat.

“We had a lot of requests, a lot of people still reaching out and I was like, ‘Ok. This is obviously not just important to me but it’s important to all of us; Important to our community,” Murray said.

Every Saturday, her and someone in recovery talk about their journey. Authier was one of the first to share, and says that it felt good for him to express himself using his own words.

“And kind of show people that people that were once suffering have been able to change their life around and there is hope, and to just try and get some positivity out there,” Authier said.

“We understand that this is still a struggle for them, maybe even more so now, and they need their community members to understand what they’re going through,” Murray said.

A journey that’s far from over.

“It’s been a real rough journey, and even though I’m in recovery now, there’s not going to be a day that goes by where I’m not going to have to work to try to better myself and you know make amends for a lot of the things I’ve done throughout my life,” Authier said.

And while it’s easy to keep the current pandemic in focus, it’s just as important to keep an eye on those who need support.

“It’s that we see them, we… see them working and they’re working even harder right now and… it’s amazing,” Murray said.

If you know someone or would like to get involved with the ‘Breaking Stigma’ series or see Murray’s work, you can visit Dez Daily Photography on Facebook.

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