Linda Nuszen’s son Adam struggled with mental illness and addiction for 10 years before eventually losing his battle in November 2015 while in rehabilitation.
“When I think about that I had him in my life for 32 years, I feel like the luckiest person that I got to be this person’s mommy,” Ms. Nuszen said.
To honor his memory and help other families dealing with addiction, the Nuszen family created the nonprofit Look Up for Adam in 2016.
Last Wednesday, Ms. Nuszen shared her journey as a mother dealing with her son’s illness at the North Fork Parish Outreach and Food Pantry’s Reconnect and Recover event at St. Agnes School in Greenport.
The event was designed to help residents connect and “learn the toll on mental wellness and addiction,” according to a flyer promoting it. The event focused on showcasing the resources available to those on the North Fork suffering through mental illness or substance abuse.
The North Fork Parish Outreach and Food Pantry building was lined with tables full of brochures, flyers and business cards from various organizations.
Representatives from the Southold Town Human Resource Center, Catholic Health Charities, Thrive Recovery Community and Outreach Center, Seafield Center, Family Service League and more attended the event.
“We really want the community to know that we’re here, we’re not going anywhere if I have anything to say about it,” said Stephanie Durso, clinical supervisor of the Mattituck office of Family Service League. “We just really want to reach out our hands and say, there’s no shame in asking for help, theres no shame in needing help.”
Ms. Durso spoke about Family Service League and the services they offer. She emphasized their 24 hour DASH hotline crisis and care center.
“We might not know the answer right away, but we’ll find the answer and we’ll get the answer to that person,” she said.
Two additional speakers spoke about their personal struggles with addiction.
Kym Laube from Human Understanding and Growth Services (HUGS) moderated the evening. She spoke about her own recovery from alcoholism, highlighting the effects of COVID on everyone, including the community’s youth. She also spoke about prevention and current youth trends that parents, educators and community members can use to look out for young people.
Justine Briscoe from Seafield Center also spoke about her recovery from opiods and about the services and treatment offered by Seafield, which has an outpatient rehab facility in Riverhead among its locations. .
During the event Ms. Nuszen spoke about how Adam would make beads with phrases on them for the people he cared about. As a way to remember him, she continued to make beads with positive messages meant to be hung on the dashboard mirror, for other “angel moms” that were on display last Wednesday evening.
“We’re coming out of the darkness, we’re finding our voice, we’re honoring our children,” she said.