Community Groups Ready to Highlight Recovery Month

By Seth Daniel

The Charlestown Substance Abuse Coalition (CSAC) recently announced an exciting Recovery Month schedule of events that will be packed with fun social activities and solemn remembrances throughout September.

“September is National Recovery Month,” said Sarah Coughlin of CSAC. “Recovery Month is to celebrate the victories of those who struggle with substance abuse disorder and are in recovery and to encourage them to continue with their recovery. In Charlestown and surrounding communities, the different groups come up with a calendar of activities to promote awareness of the month.”

Shannon Lundin of CSAC said it is important to celebrate the successes folks in the recovery community are making in Charlestown and to remember those who didn’t make it.

“What’s important for Charlestown is as a coalition, we’ve really had to change the culture and environment to make it conducive to supporting recovery,” she said. “It’s transformed from a problem that people kept behind a closed door to now a community where recovery is celebrated and respected. It’s been a real shift. We’ve seen when it was a situation where people were so ashamed that they didn’t speak about it. They never said anything. Even for a long time when fatal overdoses happened, people didn’t admit it and even the obituaries would simply say, ‘died suddenly.’”

In Charlestown, the month will kick off with the 3rd Annual Turn It Around group BBQ at Eden Street Park from 3-6 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 12.

On Wednesday, Sept. 14, there will be a Recovery Breakfast and walk into Boston as part of the Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery (MOAR) advocacy day at the State House. Participants will meet at the Boys & Girls Club (15 Green St.) at 8 a.m. and breakfast will be provided. This year, participants will march to Faneuil Hall to meet a bigger group, who in turn will march to the Boston Common, passing the State House on the way.

One of the major events, now in its eighth year, is the annual Candlelight Vigil at Hayes Square on Sept. 17, which takes place at 6:30 p.m.

This, organizers said, is a chance to remember a loved one who did not survive addiction. Family members are invited to submit a photo of a loved one for display (e-mail to [email protected]) and to call off the name. Some family members will be invited to speak about their experiences.

“When we first started our vigil eight years ago, we would invite people up to the podium to speak and only two people would come,” said Lundin. “Everyone else would stand and say, ‘No way.’ They were too tough, they were Townies and they weren’t supposed to show emotion. Every year now there are more and more people that go up and speak and share and are emotional. It’s been a very therapeutic thing for the community.”

A final event will be a new entry into the Recovery Month calendar, and that’s an Art Show at the StoveFactory, 523 Medford St., on Sept. 28 at 6 p.m. The art on display has been completed by those affected by addiction and is meant to be a healing event.

Young people and and adults completed their artwork over the summer, but a group of about 10 women in recovery have been working since Sept. 1 on their work, which will be displayed on Sept. 28. Anyone with any questions about Recovery Month should contact Coughlin at (617) 726-0059 or Lundin at (617) 320-9058.

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