Hundreds of tristate residents celebrated the local recovery community at Recovery Point’s seventh annual Rally for Recovery Friday in Huntington.
“Recovery is real,” Rachel Thaxton, director of development for Recovery Point West Virginia, said. “Recovery is possible, and these people are all living proof of that.”
Rally for Recovery featured clients and speakers from each of Recovery Point’s five programs, representatives from other local recovery programs, recovery staff and residents, all in open dialogue.
Attendees had access to free food from local vendors, inflatables, a face painting station, live music and opportunities to meet with local organizations, such as the charity Heroes 4 Higher.
Dwayne Blair, a phase one client at Recovery Point Parkersburg, said this was his first time attending Rally for Recovery.
“With this rally, we’re trying to reach out more so we can help as many people who are suffering as possible,” Blair said.
Blair said Huntington has a strong, improving recovery community, and for those within the community, their relationships can often be the only things keeping each other around.
“Here, we know we have friends and brothers who will pull up to help when we’re struggling,” he said.
Throughout Recovery Point’s twelve- step recovery process, one main idea stressed to clients is the ability to work well with others, Blair said.
“When all else fails, being able to communicate is what keeps us sober,” he said. “It’s a common misconception that addiction is just a choice. Our recovery community here is alive and well, and we’re getting stronger every day.”
Billy Myers said he has been a peer mentor at Recovery Point Parkersburg for nearly a year, but this was his first time attending Rally for Recovery.
“I’ve been in and out of three different rehabs now, and Recovery Point has completely turned my life around,” Myers said.
Myers said Rally for Recovery’s main purpose is to show support for people who are suffering from a disease.
“We have to help bring up those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol, not do things that will hold them down,” he said. “This is so important because it could keep someone out of prison or even save peoples’ lives.”
Myers said he believes it is helpful for those suffering from addiction to be capable of stepping back to deal with their problems one at a time, and it is important for those who have recovered to show those suffering from addiction it is possible to recover, get a job and be productive in the community.
“We are going to get through this one day at a time,” he said. “We don’t have to be stressed about life or our pasts or anything like that. We just have to get through this day.”
Thaxton said it is essential for recovery communities to show those who feel stuck in life that there is a way out, and there are plenty of options for help.
“In West Virginia, for whatever reason, we’ve been having a flood of opioids coming into our state, and unfortunately, we’ve seen that take over sometimes,” Thaxton said. “There is a huge stigma placed on those suffering from addiction; we have to let these people see there is another way to live.”
It will be important for the progress of recovery communities and clients when the stigma around addictions and getting help is somehow broken, Thaxton said.
“We have to make it okay to talk about our problems and reach out for help when we need it,” she said. “If no one talks about it, it’s impossible for everyone to get the help they need.”
Thaxton said there are plenty of resources for suffering addicts who want help, including various local church groups, Alcoholics Anonymous, Loved Ones Group and Recovery Point.
“These are people who have gone through vicious cycles of addiction and come out the other side productive members of their communities living successful lives,” Thaxton said. “The best thing we can do is just talk about everything, try to find others with similar experiences and talk to each other.”
Douglas Harding can be contacted at [email protected]