When an individual struggles with addiction or mental health, it affects those around them and the greater community. Overcoming these issues is something that should be collectively celebrated, according to Recovery Day Powell River organizer Robert Fitzpatrick.
“A lot of people are touched by addiction,” he said. “It’s important to celebrate those who have overcome it because it gives hope, and it’s a big accomplishment to overcome addiction.”
On Saturday, September 7, Powell River is hosting its second annual Recovery Day starting at noon at Willingdon Beach. The all-ages event will feature live music from The Toneados, Austin Parise and Noah Martinig, as well as food provided by local sponsors and activities for children.
“It’s open to the general public,” said Fitzpatrick. “It’s family friendly and there will be face painting and a big parachute for the kids. Sober Sports is hosting a volleyball game, there will be a big drumming event and Rotary is cooking a barbecue for everyone.”
There will also be information booths with resources for many of the different addiction-related services available in the community, he added.
Inspired by National Recovery Month observed in the United States, the first recovery day was held in Vancouver in 2012 and is now celebrated nationally. Last year’s event attracted more than 300 people in Powell River.
“It was really well received by the community,” said Fitzpatrick.
This year he hopes even more people will come to support and celebrate recovery in the community.
The issue is a personal one for Fitzpatrick, who is in recovery himself. He is the manager of Powell River Miklat Recovery House Society, a non-profit organization that currently offers a low-cost residential recovery program for men in the community. The society hopes to offer a similar program to women starting in 2020.
An important thing to remember, according to Fitzpatrick, is that people have the capacity to make incredibly positive changes in their lives, and encouragement helps.
“People recover from addiction,” said Fitzpatrick. “There’s still stigma in the community and we’re trying to overcome that by showing people that we do recover and we go on to lead successful lives, and we give back to the communities we live in.”