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Unsung Hero: Local woman turns life around, now helps people in need

Last Updated Nov 20, 2017 at 7:17 am PDT

(iStock Photo)

North Vancouver woman is a recovering addict who has been sober for 8 years, has built new career

Recovering alcoholic and drug addict now helps talk people out of using

NORTH VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Congratulations to this week’s Unsung Hero, Michelle Prystay of North Vancouver. She was nominated by her mother, Lorraine Prystay.

Here’s her story:

Michelle is the first of my 2 children. She was born March 8, 1978. We lived in North Vancouver BC. She went to Holy Trinity Elementary School and graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in 1996. After graduation Michelle moved to Penticton to live with their father and work in the family owned business running 4 hotels in BC.

She worked as a waitress, hostess, cocktail waitress and Junior Manager. Over the years she became an alcoholic and drug addict. Over about 10 years she spiraled out of control. In Dec/15 her Dad and I had an intervention with her. He and I never speak so she knew it was serious seeing the two of us at the same table together. She insisted she didn’t have a problem and didn’t need help.

Michelle entered Edgewood Rehabilitation Centre in Nanaimo. She walked in those front doors on Feb 16/09. She stayed for 5 months. I’m still grateful that she didn’t have a mortgage or husband or children to have to return to. She had an opportunity to start her life all over again. We knew she could not work in a restaurant or bar again. We had to find a new career for her. Michelle earned her BC Esthetician Licence. Then she moved back to North Vancouver and lived on her own in a basement suite and was employed by a large local nail salon and eventually became the Manager. She decided to start a ‘mobile spa business’. Michelle named it VIP Mobile Spa (Vanity Is Priceless).

Michelle has not relapsed even once since she became sober on Feb 16 2009. She worked extremely hard to build a new career. Her client base has gotten so big she has to hire other estheticians to work in other cities.

Michelle knows a lot of people who are still using and she is always ready to talk to them over coffee when the person is sober. She gets calls at all hours and she talks people out using … she just gets them past the ‘craving’. She did that with a friend who called her from London England. Michelle believes in ‘paying it forward’.

Once a month she posts on Facebook that she is going to Walmart and she is willing to take someone who is in need and spend $50 on them for food or toiletries.

At Halloween she makes her own costumes (Vegas show girl. Laura Croft from Indiana Jones) and she charges, by donation, for pictures. Michelle and I went to Children’s Hospital and donated approximately $800 from Halloween pictures. Michelle is sober and healthy and fit and a professional small business woman.

She gives back to her community daily through her work and her volunteer work and by being a sober living coach to everyone who asks. Michelle is my daughter and I couldn’t be more proud of her for staying sober and working hard and being so generous and compassionate towards all who know her. Michelle is my and Penticton’s ‘Unsung Hero.’

Alpine Credits is acknowledging Michelle with $500 to say thanks for stepping up and is also making a $1,000 donation to the Ronald McDonald House Children’s Charity.

Everyone knows an Unsung Hero. Nominate yours now by clicking here and give credit where credit is due with Alpine Credits and NEWS 1130.