It’s been quite the year for Airdrie’s Mike Loughman; he’s been awarded the Soul of Airdrie award, walked from High Level to Airdrie to raise money for mental health and celebrated 38 months of sobriety. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg for this Airdrie success story.
“It’s been a phenomenal year, full of all sorts of great experiences. I got to talk in several schools about mental health, bullying and addictions,” Loughman said.
“I was part of a PMAST (Peer Mediation And Skills Training) comedy FUNdraiser where I did standup comedy for the first time, which helped raise money for people like me to give talks in schools and recovery centres.
“I got to experience a lot of good things this year. It’s just been really enjoyable and unforgettable and overwhelming.”
Loughman, who battled mental illness and addictions before getting clean 38 months ago, has become a force to be reckoned with in the community as he raises funds for a variety of charities and spreads his message about dealing with mental health and addiction.
Loughman was also named Best Citizen of 2017 for the Best of Airdrie Awards in the Airdrie City View, was nominated for the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta’s True Grit Award and was parade marshal for this year’s Santa Claus Parade.
If all that wasn’t enough, Loughman started two businesses this year – Open Mike Speaker and Surrender to Sobriety – and launched a clothing line.
Much of what Loughman does is intended to give back to those who helped him when he was most down and to help others who may find themselves in his shoes.
“The number one thing I say is reach out and make that call for help, because I thought after over 20 years of addictions and drug dealing and fighting and crime and all those things, I thought I could never escape. I thought I could never get the help,” he said.
“But I made a phone call – I called the police and said, ‘I want help’ – and that one phone call sparked my whole sobriety life.”
After spending some time in the hospital and a recovery centre, Loughman has been sober since making that initial phone call.
“It all started with reaching out for help, because if you think no one cares, you’re totally wrong,” he said. “There are people out there who want to help you and care about you – even if they don’t know you. I found that out and I’m thankful that I did.
“I’m very grateful that I live here in Airdrie because the old Mike had a bad reputation…and now people accept me and they don’t care about my past. They’ve given me all these great opportunities. I’m grateful that the city of Airdrie has honoured me with all these cool things.”