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Tri-State region has reason to celebrate National Recovery Month

September 1, 2018

HUNTINGTON — The calendar flip to September marks the beginning of National Recovery Month, and Huntington has a full slate of events — and reasons — to celebrate.

A kickoff event Friday afternoon ushered in a busy month of training, education and celebrations of personal triumph over substance use disorder hosted by Healthy Connections, a coalition of local health care and social service providers specializing in helping those fighting addiction.

It’s a month dedicated to driving home the idea that recovery is not only possible, but also that the resources to do so are out there and available, explained Lyn O’Connell, clinical coordinator of Marshall University Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) and a Healthy Connections member.

“We’re really excited to have Recovery Month because I think it allows us to reframe the conversation to be focused entirely on recovery,” she said. “When we’re talking about recovery, that doesn’t exclude anyone, because we’re talking about folks who are currently in recovery and individuals not yet in recovery.”

While Recovery Month has been recognized for a few years, the fact that Cabell County’s overdose numbers are declining makes it easier to celebrate this year, O’Connell said.

Recovery Month truly began Thursday night with a screening of Elaine Sheldon’s newest documentary, “Recovery Boys,” at Marshall University. The film follows four young West Virginia men through treatment. The month continues next week with the All Walks of Recovery awareness walk at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 4, at Marshall University.

Friday’s event at River Valley CARES, a resource center for women and families in recovery, featured the premiere of “She Has a Name,” a three-minute story of the life of Misty Boling, a grandmother and five-years-clean recovery product from Chesapeake, Ohio.

Boling, whose recovery at River Valley CARES in Huntington’s West End is chronicled in the film, watched it for the first time with her daughter and grandchild.

“There’s people here that’s been trusting me and I trust in them, and that gets you a long way,” Boling said after the screening. “When you’re in addiction, it’s hard to trust anybody and you don’t even trust yourself after a while.”

Telling her story is harder than it might seem. Aside from simply opening yourself up to the world, Boling added that once you’re gripped with addiction, your identity seems lost.

“Even if you’re a good person, you still feel that stigma,” Boling said. “So trying to prove that you are a good person and build yourself back up is really hard.”

But she learned how to live all over again, as she put it, and lives a very different life now.

“I’m up and going every day,” Boling said. “I don’t have to have something to make me go every day. I don’t have to depend on anything anymore.”

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