SILER CITY – Chatham Drug Free and other community organizations will host the second-ever Celebrate Recovery Rally in Siler City noon to 4 pm on Saturday, April 30.
The event is designed to showcase the accomplishments of people who have recovered from substance use disorders and use those stories to inspire others to walk the path of recovery.
“We really felt like we needed to help people who were still in active addiction realize there’s another path,” said George Gregor-Holt, the community outreach coordinator of Chatham Drug Free. “We solve that by honoring people who have found that other path and listen to their stories.”
The first Celebrate Recovery Rally was held in September 2019 during National Recovery month, but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed future rallies until now.
This year’s event is going to be bigger than ever, said Renita Foxx, the Chatham County Courts programs director and one of the Recovery Rally’s event organizers. The rally will feature several speakers who have recovered from substance use disorder and offer attendees food trucks, live music from local musicians, crafts for kids and more.
The Celebrate Recovery Rally will also have many booths showcasing the various resources in Chatham County aiming to help curb addiction.
“Sometimes people can be living right beside an organization and not know what type of resources they have,” Foxx said. “So I wanted the community to have the opportunity to be able to see firsthand what organizations and agencies are inside of this community that can offer them assistance with housing, with mental health, with peer support and more.”
The event will feature the stories of six recovering addicts, according to the Recovery Rally flier. Gregor-Holt said featuring those six and having them share their experience with recovery may inspire current addicts to do the same.
“People who are in the throes of addiction, they don’t see a way out,” he said. “What we hope what hearing the stories will do is that it will break through some of that denial – if somebody can say to themselves, ‘That sounds like my story,’ then there’s a little crack in the wall (of denial).”
Recovery is not just about substance abuse, according to Foxx. She said she wants this event to also highlight the need for people – regardless of whether they’ve abused drugs or alcohol – to take care of their mental health.
“Another one of the issues that came out of the pandemic was mental health,” Foxx said. “Some people may have been depressed for such a long time that they can’t recognize their symptoms of depression, so recovery is not just exclusive to substance abuse – it is also including mental health.”
Several local organizations and partners – including Second Bloom of Chatham, National Alliance of Mental Illness NC, Vaya Health, and the Chatham County Sheriff’s Prevention Partnership on Controlled Substances – will have representatives at the event to give patrons more information on the mental health resources available in the community.
Foxx said having one place where people can learn about all of these resources helps promote affordable and accessible recovery treatment options.
“Sometimes parents think they have to empty out their 401k to save their kids, and you don’t have to do that,” she said. “We will guide them in any way possible that we can … I think that we have a great group that are very community oriented and are going to want to see their community members, family members, neighbors and friends succeed.”
Recovery is one of the most difficult journeys an individual can take, Gregor-Holt said. However, the most difficult aspect of addiction and substance use disorder is the negative association.
“We would never do or say the things to people who have cancers that we say or do to the people who have addiction,” he said. “We want to get some folks destigmatized to addiction so those people see it as any other illness.”
Foxx said in addition to removing the stigmas associated with substance use disorder, the Recovery Rally allows for families of addicts or former addicts to learn more about how to support their loved ones.
“We need to encourage family members and help them to understand there’s nothing negative, or bad about reaching out for help,” Foxx said. “I want them to come to the event… to see the different phases of recovery, meaning substance abuse, mental health and all of the different shades in between.”
The Celebrate Recovery Rally will be open to the public in downtown Siler City on the block of NC Arts Incubator at 223 N. Chatham Ave.
Reporter Taylor Heeden can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.