Addiction is a disorder that is often kept in the dark.
A difficult topic that has touched many, it carries a stigma that many do not want to talk about.
On Friday at Scheide Park, addiction and recovery were the focus at the Titusville Recovery Celebration, hosted by Family Services and Children’s Aid Society and the Crawford County Drug and Alcohol Commission.
September is National Recovery Month.
Once you suffer from addiction, you are either using or in recovery. The process is difficult, and countless examples of the struggle to be in recovery were presented at the event.
It allowed for those in recovery to get together, and celebrate their efforts.
“We want to show that recovery is possible,” said Rick Orlowski, Director of Drug and Alcohol Programs for the Family Service and Children’s Aid Society. A goal is also to get rid of the stigma surrounding addiction and recovery.
In attendance at the event were organizations centered around helping those in recovery. Some of those in attendance took to the stage to share some stories and wisdom.
Brad Fell was a speaker who took the stage. Fell talked about what it takes to get clean, and how much support you need to get there.
“I was dragged kicking and screaming through the 12 steps,” he said. “But that’s what I needed.”
Fell feels that too much time is spent on the realization and rationalization that you have an addiction.
“I wasted a lot of time trying to figure out if I was an addict,” he said. “But the reality is that I drank too much because I was an alcoholic, and I was an alcoholic because I drank too much.”
Once you get past that stage, said Fell, is when others can really help.
“Folks helped point me in the right direction,” he said. “And I’ve taken that one day at a time.”
Fell now spends a lot of his time helping others get help, driving them to meetings and being there sponsor.
One of the speakers was John Hartnett, President of Not One More, an organization that helps those in recovery. Hartnett himself is in recovery, and shared some of his experiences with the crowd.
He explained that while he was using, he believed he was the “dark center of the universe” and felt that the world revolved around him and his decisions. It wasn’t until he was able to receive help and treatment did he realize that he didn’t know everything, especially when it came to addiction.
Since he started getting treatment in 2015, he says that the support community for those in recovery has grown.
“We have lots of people ready to help,” he said.
Before taking the stage, Hartnett was running the rock painting station. The rocks have social media information for Recovery Rocks 814 on them.
The idea is to hide the rocks throughout the community, and hope that someone finds the rock and finds time to learn more about addiction and recovery.
Besides the hiding, Hartnett said that painting rocks is just fun, and painting can start a conversation on “the realities of addiction.”
Cheryl N. and Kathy W. were two individuals in recovery who were painting rocks at the event.
“It’s a fun expression of my creativity,” said Cheryl. While expressing creativity, the group painting also started talking about experiences and sharing stories.
The topic of blacking out was brought up — when you get so drunk that you do not remember anything that happened.
They were able to tell their stories in a safe environment, without fear of judgement. Just as the rock painting station was built to do.
Besides rocks, there was also an area to give pony rides. The hope is that this outing could show those in recovery or those battling with addiction that they can still have a good time sober.
The event was full of lighthearted remarks, hugs and heavy stories. Throughout it all, in the sunlight in the park, it brought addiction and recovery out of the shadows.
Dvorkin can be reached by email at Gdvorkin@titusvilleherald.com.