HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Award-winning author, Michael Blanchard is celebrating more than a decade of sobriety.

Mira Vista Behavioral Center hosted Blanchard Tuesday night for a community conversation. Blanchard, who is now 12 years sober, shared his personal journey of recovery with those in attendance. He detailed his years of suffering with an alcohol addiction that he says took control of his life and came to close to ending itas well.

Blanchard spoke at MiraVista Behavioral as part of a National Recovery Month event which is observed every September.

“Because of the shame and stigma associated, they’re still some people that believe addiction is a character defect,” Blanchard said. “My hope is that someone will have the courage to step up and say, ‘I’ve got a problem’ knowing it’s a disease, not something that is wrong with them.”

Kimberly Lee, chief of creative strategy and development at MiraVista, told 22News, “Recovery is possible for individuals who are challenged by substance abuse. There are resources and services that are available right here at MiraVista to help them live fulfilling lives.”

Blanchard’s work has earned him loyal followers and countless visitors from around the world, including actress Jamie Lee Curtis, whose 24 years into her recovery.