A Keremeos resident will visit Kelowna this month to share her journey to sobriety.
Laura Gilbert will be talking about her story of addiction and abuse which she has written about in two books, both biographic tales about her life called A Little Girl Called Squeaks: A Story Of Hope and Hide and Squeaks.
The tell-all books dive deep in to Gilbert’s life and revisits places and people from her past in order to detail her journey to sobriety and finding peace in living a healthy, fulfilling life.
Originally from Vancouver, Gilbert spent her childhood and adolescence under the abusive care of her drug-addicted mother as they moved between Penticton and surrounding communities.
As Gilbert aged, she began to go down a similar path of addiction and substance abuse, even attempting to take her own life.
She said sharing her story has enabled her own healing process, and follows up the advice of her psychologist, who said her story could offer hope to others.
“I call it God-shots, it ends up happening the way it’s supposed to. That’sone of the things they teach you in AA, to help others.”
As a child, Gilbert had very few positive adult role models in her life and found there was nowhere she could turn in times of need.
Today, her hope is her books and speaking engagements can help educate the public about the reality of abuse and neglect children can face today, and ways to prevent it.
“I’m really partial to trying to impact kids,” Gilbert said. “I think there are more resources now for children. But it’s about having everyone on the same page when care for a kid, it has to be structured and there needs to be an understanding.”
She remains surprised by the number of people that read her books and reached out to thank her for offering a new perspective on homelessness and drug addiction.
“Sometimes people will look at other people and judge, but they don’t know what someone has gone through — they’ve never walked in their steps.
“Some people have read my books and have had a good life – no addictions — but it made them look differently at other people who did have them. “
Gilbert said life for her today is very different from her younger years, now engaged and spending her time with family and giving back to the community.
She hopes her honesty will compel others to seek help.
“For me it’s about the people, hearing their stories and knowing how hard it was to do this book, but it was worth it. I thank God because now it’s like he’s using me as an instrument.
“You can’t have enough stories of hope, we need more of that today.”
Gilbert will be at a book signing event hosted by the downtown Kelowna library, 1380 Ellis St., on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2 to 3:45 p.m.
—with files from Jordyn Thomson, Penticton Western News