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Many times, we talk about community recovery after a terrible storm. What about community recovery after addiction? The kind of recovery that will last for generations. What if our community could be open and honest enough to ask itself some hard questions and examine our behaviors? Too many times, I’ve seen those who think sharing prescriptions is ok or getting in a car to drive after indulging in mind-altering substances. I’ve seen this cheered on in some crowds. However, the reality of recovery from addiction seems to be something that gets mocked or shamed. “You are too straight-laced now.” some might say. I’ve heard those dirty little words, but why did it hurt when it should have been a triumph? Too many times, people are ashamed to discuss the things that bring us into addiction, like abuse and trauma. We are also embarrassed to admit the things we did while under the influence of awful habits and substances. It is time for our community to be transparent about addiction and foster an environment of healing, forgiveness, and growth.
One of the primary reasons why transparency is essential is that it helps break down societal barriers and diminishes the shame associated with these experiences. When individuals feel comfortable discussing their struggles openly, it encourages others to do the same. This openness cultivates an atmosphere where people can seek help without fear of judgment or isolation. Transparency also plays a significant role in raising awareness about the causes, effects, and available resources for abuse, trauma, and addiction. When accurate information is readily accessible, it enables individuals to make informed decisions and access the appropriate support systems. Moreover, it allows society to recognize the prevalence and impact of these issues, leading to a more proactive approach to addressing them.
In addition to breaking down barriers and raising awareness, transparency helps combat the perpetuation of harmful behaviors and systems. By shedding light on abusive practices, traumatic experiences, and addictive behaviors, we can challenge the conditions that allow them to persist. Transparency holds individuals, organizations, and institutions accountable for their actions and encourages them to prioritize the well-being and safety of those affected. Furthermore, transparency supports the healing process for individuals grappling with abuse, trauma, and addiction. Creating an environment where they are validated allows individuals to feel heard and supported, which is crucial in their journey towards healing and rebuilding their lives. Proper support can take someone from a victim mindset to a victor mindset. It is essential to approach transparency with sensitivity and respect. While sharing personal stories and experiences can be empowering, it is crucial to consider privacy and consent. Some individuals may need more time to be ready or comfortable disclosing their experiences publicly; it is vital to honor their choices. Respecting boundaries and providing safe spaces for disclosure are essential to fostering transparency.
These local resources are available if you or someone you know needs help. For hurts, habits, and hang-ups, Celebrate Recovery is not just for the recovering addict. Celebrate Recovery is a group that fosters a supportive environment of transparency through open discussion about past trauma, abuse, addiction, and many more topics. Call Davis Memorial Christian Church at 217-824-8181 if you are looking for support. Celebrate Recovery is on Tuesday evenings from 5:30 to 8:30 pm. The church is located at 1500 W. Franklin St. in Taylorville. NA and AA meetings are held at the First Presbyterian Church at 116 E. Franklin in Taylorville. Narcotics Anonymous is six days a week, except Tuesday at 6 pm. Alcoholics Anonymous is five days a week except Tuesday and Sunday at 7:30 pm. For more information on meetings, visit (aaci11.org) or call AA Decatur Innergroup, which has a helpline answering service. (217) 615-0452.
Destiney Rickman and Kelly Sneyd celebrate two years clean with a tour around Taylorville to thank all those involved in her recovery process. (photo by Tavia Jean)
Destiny Rickman achieved a little over two years sober the day of our interview. I met Destiny had so much good news to share about the services she received from the program, such as information about rehab connections, group support meetings, counseling, and so much more. Like many, Destiny suffered waves of abuse and addiction. The programs she found herself in have helped take her from victim to victor. With proper community support, she has been able to overcome the obstacles of addressing abuse and addiction. While in jail, Destiny met Kelly Sneyd, working for Celebrate Recovery prison sponsorship ministry through Davis Memorial Church. Kelly has tried to make it her priority as a sponsor to always be available to Destiny in times of need. They have shared late-night calls, shopping trips, and other bonding experiences that have helped Destiney heal.
However, this relationship has also been beneficial for Destiny. Kelly has found who she is and God’s will for her life as a recovery support specialist. Kelly is working on her counseling certifications through a program with Northern Illinois University.
Destiney and Kelly have built what is sure to be a lifelong friendship through community recovery work. Destiney is excited to see what a future addiction-free will bring for her. After speaking with me, Destiney paid a visit to Chief Wheeler, who later made a Facebook post stating. “Destiny says it helps when she sees several friends recovering. She called Taylorville sober city; I said we are working hard at it daily with safe passage, all the officers, the drug court, and the city’s resources. The officers are always spreading the word: we are here to help when you are ready to live again and not chasing the drug anymore. We are so proud of her and wish her the best, along with her husband, who is also doing great. You can do it one day at a time.”
– Chief Dwayne Wheeler
Fred Delahunt celebrated his first year of sobriety. Encased is his 24 hour coin and 11 month coins along with my 1 year coin and my coin from completion of Gateway. The moemnto is a constant reminder of what he is capable of with the help of God, recovery, being honest and continually doing the next right thing! (submitted photo)
After losing his parents, Fred Delahunt started having CPTD flashbacks surrounding his childhood. This was when addiction gripped him tighter in an attempt to escape the pain. He didn’t want anyone to know what he had learned about his past because he didn’t want others to feel ashamed of him. This led to Fred drinking to cover up the pain. However, he turned to harder drugs once drinking didn’t do the trick. This was when life started to spiral out of control. “My addiction was so bad that if I didn’t have my drugs or alcohol, I couldn’t get out of bed.” Thankfully, a sympathetic Judge, Brad Paisley, stepped in and said he could go to rehab about that time; Fred says, “I had the desire to get clean. I didn’t know how to get clean.”
While in the rehab, Fred met a counselor who wanted to tell him about Jesus. “It was wild the things this man was saying. It was like he knew me on a personal level. However, he didn’t know me. The next evening, I surrendered my life to Jesus.” Fred says he begged Jesus to take away his meth addiction. Fred knew that if something didn’t change, he would end up in prison because he felt he had no control over this addiction.
From then on, He kept attending the meetings and staying in touch with those leading the groups.
“I also pray daily that Jesus puts the right people in my path. Slowly, Jesus has turned my life around. I have values and morals now. My family is back together, and I am trying to stay active in the recovery community. This way, I can build myself and the community around me. We build off each other and try to help our community as much as possible.”
A lot of the reason people struggle so hard with addiction is due to trauma. It would help if we addressed the core reasons for addiction. Then, it will be easier to heal from addiction, which is why you need others. You shouldn’t need to address all of those issues on your own. Having community support makes the healing process more straightforward.
Fred credits much of his strive to get clean and stay clean to his wife, Sandy. Sandy moved out while Fred was in rehab and told me that she’d always love me and always support his recovery, but she wasn’t in love with him, and she didn’t like who he became due to unaddressed trauma and addiction.
Thankfully, that all changed. Once Fred started changing and doing the right thing, she let him in more. Eventually, she started going to NA and AA meetings with him to try and understand better. Sandy also gave her testimony at both NA and Celebrate Recovery as the wife of a person with an addiction. Fred stated, “It was mighty and moved everyone. I bawled because I was so ashamed of everything I put her through. She’s my rock and my soundboard.”
Fred has found support in an understanding wife, “I always bounce feelings and struggles off of her, and she is always so supportive. I wouldn’t have made it without her. Sandy made it a lot easier once she started helping me.” Sandy gave Fred some advice that is easy for all of us to forget. Fred asked her how she dealt with complex issues, and Sandy told Fred that she knew all these things were temporary. Fred holds that true to his heart.
Fred chaired both AA and NA for a couple of years and then passed it on to people who needed to do some service. Fred says, “It’s essential to get out of yourself and to do for others. We live by the rule: If a recovery program or the church asks us to help with something, we do it.”
Sandy isn’t in Recovery and has never had any problems with any substances. Fred said he once asked her how she dealt with these things, and she told him she knew it was only temporary. Fred says, “I hold that true to my heart. You know, when things are bad, it’s only temporary.”
Fred and Sandy Delahunt bond over dinner while enjoying a repair relationship thanks to recovery. (submitted photo)