‘There’s a way out’

For local woman, recovery is her world

Elaine Ezerins

By Elaine Ezerins

Staff Writer

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“We couldn’t just let her go and lose our kid. You just don’t, you don’t give up.’

- Mike, Melinda's father

ST. ALBANS — Melinda Lussier has made recovery her entire world.

Since December, Melinda has worked as a medication assisted treatment (MAT) care coordinator at Northwestern Medical Center, but for three and a half years prior, she was a staff member at Turning Point of Franklin County, a recovery resource center in St. Albans.

Melinda serves on multiple boards, including Vermont Recovery Network, works alongside the Vermont State Police to educate students about alcoholism and drug abuse and started two Narcan pilot programs in Franklin County.

“The reason I survived addiction is to be of maximum service to God and my fellows,” she said.

Melinda earned her first DUI charge at 18-years-old. Over the course of the next 15 years, she went on to earn three more DUIs, escalating from alcohol to opiates to heroin, overdosed more times than she can remember and attempt suicide.

Her saving grace was Teen Challenge, a Christian-based long-term residential treatment program offered all across the U.S.

At 31, Melinda left St. Albans and her family behind to fly to Philadelphia where she spent 13 months detoxing, working through past trauma and behaviors, discovering her life purpose and becoming a disciple of God.

“It’s the best decision I ever made,” she said. “It was my path to recovery.”

To read the rest of Melinda’s story, pick up a copy of the weekend Messenger, purchase a day pass for just $1, or subscribe to our digital edition.