BATH, N.Y. (18 NEWS) - Dozens of people gathered in Bath on Tuesday in honor of the first annual "Steuben County Stand Up For Recovery Day."
"People don't always understand is that addiction is a biological reality," Medical Director for Steuben County Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services Julia Haar said. "The brain of people become addicted it's different from the brain of people who are not addicted."
Haar said many stigmatize addicts as people who came from broken homes, or have rough backgrounds. But as speakers at the event demonstrated, that's just not the case.
"My childhood was almost perfect," addict in recovery Elaine Wilcox said. "Parents are the best supportive parents ever have been married for 42 years and are still madly in love. I went to college, got two degrees, got married, my life seemed good."
"We bicycles go carts four wheelers and even a couple of horses," addict in recovery Ashley said. "My parents took us on a family vacation to the beach without fail every single year. I can definitely say for sure that I was lucky kid."
Speakers talking about how quickly their addictions became dangerous.
"At first I would to use socially, everybody, my friends would use drugs," Wilcox said. "It was the norm. But very quickly it progressed to taking over my life."
"Had to have surgery and I was given a prescription for painkillers," Ashley said. "I was immediately hooked. I went from taking one or two to taking handfuls at a time."
Despite being surrounded by those looking to help, speakers explained how it has to be addicts themselves who make the decision to get clean.
"She sat there and she talked to me, and she told me that she cared," Wilcox said. "I didn't believe her at all. But then I realized why would she be here why would she take time out of her busy day to come to my hospital room and see me.That one person saved my life. If she wasn't in that room I wouldn't have gotten help I probably would've been dead on the street, or living homeless right now."
"We can sometimes have a little more compassion, just a little bit extra time to think about the suffering that goes on," Harr said. "And if we open up the doors, open up, talk openly about recovery, you don't know who that's going to help."
To learn more about the Steuben County Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services follow this link.
To learn more about Friends of Recovery-Steuben follow this link.
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