Wilton event brings addiction out of the shadows
There are more than a dozen Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in Wilton in any given week. The number grows to more than three dozen when taking into account neighboring towns.
If there was any question alcohol abuse is a problem here, the number of AA meetings dispels that.
“There’s no family that’s not affected in some way,” was the sentiment of organizers gathered last week at Wilton Presbyterian Church.
To reach out to those who misuse not only alcohol, but other substances as well, A Day of Recovery and Wellness will be offered Saturday, Nov. 2, from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., at WEPCO, 48 New Canaan Road. Details are online at dayofrecovery.org or by calling 203-762-5514. Advance registration online is requested.
The free event is being tagged as “for the sober curious, those in recovery, and those who love them.”
John Hamilton of Liberation Programs, Inc. will deliver a keynote address focusing on “de-stigmatizing” substance abuse.
“We are trying to move in a different direction in recovery,” he told The Bulletin. “There are different pathways … to treating people with dignity,” he said, including taking a more hopeful approach to recovery management and showing empathy, rather than being judgmental. His intent is to offer families hope.
More than 12 recovery organizations will be represented, offering information on services, including The Center for Motivation and Change, Triangle Center, Silver Hill Hospital, Pivot Ministries, Turnbridge, NAMI, Wilton Youth Council, and Wilton clergy.
There will be breakout sessions from 1 to 4 p.m., on families, teen use, trauma and healing.
A film festival will run all day from 11 to 6, including a showing of the film Angst, a documentary on anxiety that incudes interviews with children, teens, educators, experts, parents and Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps. Also being shown is Dying in Vein, a personal exploration of opiate and heroin addiction
There will be food trucks all day, live music from 5 to 6:30 p.m., and open AA and Al-Anon meetings.
Sponsors include Wilton Presbyterian and Wilton Baptist churches; Mountainside Treatment Centers; Liberation Programs, Inc.; The Lighthouse; and Mitchell’s of Westport.
One of the breakout sessions will be run by The Lighthouse of New Canaan, which offers sober living options and recovery coaching. The session will explain what recovery coaches are and how they can help as compared to working with a therapist or a clergy member.
Carrie Wilkins, Ph.D., of CMC: Foundation for Change, will lead a family training session on combining science and kindness.
A session on trauma and addiction with social worker Linda Rost will feature a survivor of severe childhood abuse in recovery from alcohol and opioid addiction.
Sound healing to relieve stress will be explored in a session featuring Tibetan singing bowls, a gong, ocean drum and chimes presented by Mountainside.
Lilly Neuman of St. Vincent’s Hospital in Westcheter County will discuss the teen brain and substance use.
Dr. Francis Hamilton of Wilton will discuss aging and substance use.
Mental health professionals will also be available for private conversations about personal concerns and specific questions.
Spearheading the event is the Rev. Shannon White of Wilton Presbyterian Church. “As a person in long-term recovery, I felt it was an opportunity to offer something to bring all sectors of the community together,” she said.
She and representatives of the sponsoring organizations have been meeting since April to plan the event.
“Wilton doesn’t talk openly as much about recovery as other communities,” she said, adding a number of nearby communities are known as “recovery-friendly communities.”
These are communities where there are concerted efforts to support people working their way through addiction such as having employers that hire people in recovery, offering meetings and other support services.
New Canaan, for example, which has a number of sober homes, is attempting to create a recovery community center, she said. The police department’s website links to drugfreenc.com, which provides information on addiction, where to get help, local and area resources and “information from the experts.”
A Day of Recovery and Wellness is “a call to action for Wiltonians,” she said. Explaining there were two opioid deaths in her congregtion several years ago, “it has hit home for the congregation.”
While some — certainly not all — may be aware of the problem, many do not know how to get help. And, while many parents may get help for their children, they themselves may need help they are not getting.
The event is open for people to come and go as they please, but they are asked to register online at dayofrecovery.org.