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Recovery Month events commence

September 5, 2018 GMT

HUNTINGTON — Healthy Connections kicked off its National Recovery Month celebrations Tuesday evening with its All Walks of Recovery event at Marshall University, where students and community members gathered to celebrate local recovery efforts.

Deeidra Beckett, family navigator with Healthy Connections and emcee at the event, said Healthy Connections is excited to celebrate the recovery efforts happening in Huntington. The organization is a coalition of several recovery-related organizations that offer related programs and resources.

“We keep hearing about the problem in Huntington, and Recovery Month is a time to celebrate recovery, and a time to show community that there is a lot of recovery happening here regardless of all the controversy and problems,” Beckett said.

Several people shared their recovery stories, and recovery resources were available at the event. A prayer board was set up for families of those lost to a substance abuse disorder. The event ended with a walk around the Memorial Student Center, led by people who are in recovery. The original plan to make a lap around the perimeter of campus was canceled because of Tuesday’s heat advisory.

Amy Saunders, chairwoman of the Substance Abuse Recovery Coalition at Marshall, said incorporating the Marshall community with the greater Huntington community’s opioid crisis efforts helps to fight negative stereotypes.

“I hope that people can see the positive aspects,” Saunders said. “There is so much focus on the negativity. This is a very stigmatized issue, so this is a moment to come together and think about how the community can embrace solutions and embrace one another to focus on positive aspects and support one another. These are our friends and neighbors, these are people in our community and I think that’s really important to support one another. Really, I think it’s going to take community effort to help us forward.”

Beckett, who is in her sixth year of recovery, said she wants events that celebrate recovery, like Tuesday evening’s walk, to give people hope for the city and that families who have lost someone to substance abuse disorder do not think those deaths were in vain.

“You can be here to support the next generation coming through of the people who are still struggling,” Beckett said.

National Recovery Month, celebrated annually in September, began in 1989 and is a program by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Follow reporter Megan Osborne on Twitter at @megosborneHD.