A serenity circle at a previous Recovery Day in Red Deer at City Hall Park. (Photo contributed)

Red Deer group focuses on recovery rather than addiction

Recovery Day Sept. 9 in City Hall Park

A Red Deer group that celebrates and offers support to people in recovery from addictions is ramping up its public awareness campaign.

Kerstyn Van Sandick said Tuesday that Recovery Day Red Deer takes the view that there’s too much focus on the problem of addictions, and that it’s the solution — recovery — that is more important.

Van Sandick, 28, said she has been in recovery for a few years, but the past year her recovery has flourished since she reached out. Few people actually know what’s out there when looking for recovery help, she added.

“There’s such a great support system once you find it, but because there is such a stigma attached in this society with recovering with addictions, I was so scared to speak up and say, ‘I’m in recover,’ that I hid at home in pain a lot. There’s so much more to recovery than just abstaining from alcohol and drugs.”

Recovery should be celebrated because it’s saving lives and bringing families back together, she said.

September is the official month in which Recovery Day is celebrated. The event in Canada has grown from two locations in 2012 to 30 this year.

This is the fourth year of Recovery Day in Red Deer, but the events have been quite small, Van Sandick said. The group are hoping to build awareness and get more people involved.

Several activities are planned, with it’s major event in September. The group has a float in Wednesday’s Western Days Parade in Red Deer.

It held a fundraising public screening of The Anonymous People last week at Red Deer College and will offer the film again at Lacombe City Cinemas on Aug. 12, 10 a.m. Admission is free but donations will be accepted. The documentary is about the millions of Americans living in long-term recovery from addiction.

Jodee Prouse, a local author, will speak about addictions and mental health at Red Deer College on Sept. 8.

During Recovery Day on Sept. 9, Prouse and others will speak at City Hall Park, including a mother who lost a child to addiction. There will be information booths by organizations that provide services and ongoing support recovery to people, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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