‘19 Towns, 19 Stories’ seeks stories of addiction’s impact on Lincoln County lives

Mon, 06/03/2024 - 1:00pm

    It’s happening all over Lincoln County: neighbors and families are beginning to get together and talk. And though they’re talking about the hardest of things – addiction, recovery, overdose, death – they’re finding support and healing in the process.

    “We have people from all over the county attending activities at our center,” says Abigail Boudin, Program Coordinator of Lincoln County Recovery Community Center (LCRCC) in Newcastle. “Those who we work with from as far away as Southport and Jefferson are grateful for the chance to talk openly. They’re so tired of the silence and isolation around this issue.”

    A new project by LCRCC and nonprofit Studio B seeks to duplicate this experience across the county by bringing stories of impact and compassionate conversation to every town.

    “19 Towns, 19 Stories seeks to uncover the hidden struggles and triumphs of Lincoln County residents affected by addiction,” says Damariscotta-based Studio B Executive Director Peter Bruun, who is overseeing the project. “The goal is to humanize this complex issue, fostering understanding, empathy, and community bonds for positive change.”

    Using a community-guided process, 19 Towns, 19 Stories has two main components: 19 memorial events around International Overdose Awareness Day (August 31), and a book centering stories from each of Lincoln County’s 19 towns that will be published later in the year.

    The organizers are currently seeking stories from those who have been affected.

    “Maybe you’ve battled addiction or related mental health challenges, have a family member who has, or work supporting affected people,” Bruun says. “Each story will offer a different angle on the far-reaching consequences of substance use and the stressors that cause it, illustrating its effects on relationships, careers, and well being.”

    This summer, an advisory group will select one person from each town to be profiled by a professional photographer and writer. Their stories will be featured in the book and the August events.   

    “So many people are struggling, and until we begin talking openly and without shame or fear about how it’s impacting us all and how we can actually help, we’ll continue to lose loved ones,” says advisory group member Sharon Bailey, who lost a son to addiction and offers grief support for others who have. “I’m so glad to see more conversations happening.”  

    19 Towns, 19 Stories will offer an honest, compassionate, and compelling portrait of the ongoing impact of substance use and related behavioral health issues.  

    “It’s a way to keep the conversations going,” Bruun says. “And that saves lives.”  

    If you have or know of a story that should be considered for 19 Towns, 19 Stories, please contact Studio B executive director Peter Bruun at 207-800-1640 or via email at peter@bruunstudios.com. Having lost his own child to opioids and done this work for decades, he can assure safety in any conversation, and is eager to connect.