October 3, 2013Blog
Getting To the Recovery Vigil
As twilight crested the Punta Gorda South Bound Bridge, the sky was dark and gray and ominous. It had been raining hard all week. The rain, at one point, falling at 2” to 4” had been breaking rainfall records and causing all kinds of issues with flooded streets and other inconveniences.
The Recovery Candlelight Vigil was on grass by the Gazebo at Punta Gorda Laishley Park on September 27th, 2013. The rain made my week one problem after another, but I wanted to make sure I attended the vigil to show support for my peers! I know TREATMENT is EFFECTIVE and RECOVERY is POSSIBLE! At the vigil there would be a very special opportunity to put real faces to “recovery.” No, not the Dr. Drew rehab or the Hollywood spin type drama. Yes, these are our peers, our friends, our families, our neighbors, our colleagues…Many times fighting two fronts. They are in the grips of substance and drug addiction and the struggle of mental illness that turns lives upside-down and inside-out. I headed out the door with my video camera and tripod hoping to capture a special moment to share. I captured such a moment.
Voice Of Recovery
My personal pathway to the recovery event was a bit of an adventure and an experience all of its own, ending with me walking out on the soggy grassy knoll (read more about The Supporter) . As I said, the ominous sky was threatening rain any second and the wind was picking up. However, the over-all spirit and sensation of the night was one of dignity and pride of accomplishment! Yet, a sobering sentiment was never lost: that addiction can be deadly.
Each speaker gave moving testaments and recovery experiences that were, at times, emotionally difficult to hear. The wind added to the ambiance as it accelerated along with our emotions. One particular speaker reached my heart. A young, soft-spoken woman. Her message was heard loud and clear to me. Speaking from the heart, she states she was “classified as the chronic relapser.” She shys away from the term “recovery,” she does “feel a change” and she is “happy today.” What caught my heart was what she said next. It was so profound I wanted to share it. This your girl drove the process of recovery home when she said: “Even my worst day today (clean), is a lot better than when I was out there using.” (A hard lesson to learn.) Like life: Thankfully the rain held off though the wind picked up.
Smartphone Recovery Vigil
The vigil was all about support. I was happy to see a number of old friends and advocates there. As I looked around at the 275-ish Peers and Supporters at the Recovery Event, one thing became very clear to me…substance abuse and behavioral recovery IS POSSIBLE here in Charlotte County. It didn’t matter what type of recovery road or PATH we were ON. September 27th, that night in the park…that night, all our paths intersected. For one night, we celebrated our recovery and remembered those who sadly lost their battle. We don’t have to lose ours.
The Smart Phone Vigil Video
Due to the wind, it was impossible to use candlelight – so we had a smartphone vigil. Here is the raw footage of the vigil – it’s 28 mins long – windy – dark – shaky – so ya, it’s almost as if you where there: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrP5jZz8M_IChato Stewart Consumer Peer Ambassador