By Erika Webb
For Hometown News
Every day is cause for celebration in the life of a recovering drug addict or alcoholic. Anyone who's ever gotten sober knows the seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years away from the consequences of addiction call for reverence. "It's simple but it's not easy," is heard in 12-step meetings everywhere. The millions who've tried and failed, and picked themselves up and tried again, will concur.
National Recovery Month, which began Sept. 6, promotes the prevention, treatment and recovery for mental health and substance use disorders. A local celebration is planned for Sept. 22.
National Recovery Month celebrates both recovering people and the contributions of their treatment providers.
Stewart-Marchman-Act Behavioral Healthcare, or SMA, is one such provider, serving Volusia, Flagler, Putnam and St. Johns counties. Organized in 2008, following the merger of Act Corporation, established in 1947, and Stewart-Marchman Center, established in 1970, SMA has 19 service locations that offer crisis, residential, outpatient, housing, workshop, supported-employment and prevention services for behavioral illnesses, from chronic mental illness to addiction. SMA served over 21,000 clients during fiscal year 2011-2012.
Victoria Kress, the regional prevention director for SMA's Keep Kids Drug Free program, has been organizing the annual recovery month celebration in Daytona Beach, with the help of volunteers, for the past six years.
"Most people don't know what 'Recovery' is. Recovery is moving in the direction of restoring our personal life one day at a time, and not trying to change others. Recovery encompasses self-examination and the desire to change one's self," Ms. Kress said. "Recovery involves reconciliation, healthy living, volunteerism and connectivity with those who embrace becoming healthy emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually."
She said the annual event celebrates those who have learned personal growth, responsibility and ways to overcome obstacles and barriers when it concerns personal and family brokenness and all of the manifestations of life's dysfunctions.
"Recovery is a new way of life for the rest of your life and helps us to find the peace and joy that we seek in life," she said.
Florida's Keep Kids Drug Free and Ride for Recovery and the Celebration Event will be on Sept. 22. An escorted motorcycle run begins at 1 p.m. at High Jackers Restaurant at the Flagler County Airport in Palm Coast and finishes at the Daytona Beach Bandshell where the celebration event will be held. The ride registration fee is $25 per person and includes T-shirt. The free celebration event begins at 5 p.m.
Ms. Kress said event activities, including Recovery's Got Talent, line dancing, kids' zone, uplifting testimonials and resource tables, will help people connect, promote awareness and support others.
"Recovery in all forms is achievable. You will hear the stories of those who are overcoming," Ms. Kress said. "If you need hope and a new start this can be the beginning for you."
For information, go to www.FloridaRecoveryMonth.com.