Fairbanks, the Indiana Addictions Issues Coalition and the Indiana Family & Social Services Administration kicked off National Recovery Month by hosting a recovery ride and coloring of the Indianapolis Canal on Sept. 2.
The recovery ride started from South Side Harley Davidson and included a police escort around I-465 before ending at the Ohio Basin of the Indianapolis Canal.
Kathleen Gill, alumni relations officer for Fairbanks, emceed the ceremony for the coloring of the canal. The event also included Brandon George, executive director of the Indiana Addictions Issues Coalition. He handed out annual awards for recovery advocates. Among those honored were Kim Manlove, former IAIC director and Fairbanks parent coach and peer recovery coach coordinator, with a lifetime achievement award; and Matt Heskett, Fairbanks employer services coordinator, as a recovery advocate of the year.
“The month of September is National Recovery Month,” Gill said. “It is a time to focus on increasing awareness that recovery from substance use disorders is possible and that treatment works. It’s also a time to break the stigma and shame that society places on this disease, a time to educate our community and a time to spread the word and celebrate the success stories of those in recovery and of the families who support them.”
With the magnitude of the opioid crisis, Gill noted it’s increasingly difficult to find someone who hasn’t been affected by addiction personally. She emphasized Fairbanks’ motto of “together we can” in describing the recovery community’s efforts to help individuals reclaim their lives from addiction.
“Our community is making great strides as we build stronger partnerships across prevention, treatment, recovery support services, public health and public safety organizations,” Gill said to the hundreds gathered at the Indianapolis Canal. “It is through these partnerships that we will be able to increase the foundation needed to address the disease of addiction that is tearing apart our communities, our families and our loved ones.”
Fairbanks President and CEO Barbara Elliott read a proclamation from Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb declaring September as National Recovery Month before dye was poured into the canal to turn it purple. The color is associated with recovery because ancient Greeks believed the purple semi-precious stone amethyst had the power to prevent intoxication. The amethyst is also the stone of transformation.
Honorary dye pourers were Barbara Elliott; Justin Phillips, executive director of Overdose Lifeline, Inc.; Amy Brinkley, head of the Indiana Recovery Council and bureau chief for the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction; Melisa Cole, an alumna, volunteer and now Fairbanks employee; and Woody Wethington, a Fairbanks alumnus who now works as a recovery coach at Community Hospital North.
The recovery month kickoff also included food from Jug’s Catering and live music.
National Recovery Month was started by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to celebrate the millions of Americans who live their lives in recovery from mental and substance use disorders and honor those working to make recovery possible, while also taking the time to remember the people who lost their lives and those who still need help. More information on National Recovery Month may be found online at www.recoverymonth.gov.