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Longmont Man’s Nonprofit Aims to Promote Sobriety Movement Nationally in New Year

January 12, 2019
Duke Rumely at his home in Longmont. A Longmont Angel Initiative volunteer, Rumely, started Safe AF Entertainment, a nonprofit to help people have fun in sober spaces this year. In 2019, , the group is adding software so that people across the country can plan their own sober events.

When most people his age were just starting to use alcohol legally, Duke Rumely had started his journey toward sobriety.

Rumely had started using alcohol and drugs when he was 17 and stopped at 21. He’s been sober and recovering for more than two decades, he said.

For Rumely, the decision to stop using came after his parents took him to treatment.

“I enjoyed not being the black sheep of the family for a while, and I enjoyed not getting a DUI every three months,” he said, “so I decided I would try out this sobriety.”

Rumely, a Longmont resident, has now turned helping others find recovery his job, and then some. He has worked in the recovery field for almost a decade, and now works for Pathfinders Recovery Center in Lakewood.

When Longmont police started the Angel Initiative in January 2017, Rumely was part of the original group addressing substance abuse, along with homelessness and mental illness.

“Those are the three hardest things our society is facing,” he said.

While Rumely helps those who come to Longmont police find treatment options, he has also started his own venture for those who have completed treatment.

In June 2018, Rumely and his daughter, 20-year-old Jordan Rumely, started Safe AF Entertainment, a nonprofit that aims to provide safe sober spaces at events like concerts and athletic games.

Rumely said that, as a parent of a 20-year-old and 17-year-old, he is “petrified” that someone will offer his children a drug laced with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and often the culprit of overdoses.

“It’s ridiculous that they have no secondary culture other than party culture in Colorado,” Rumely said.

He recalled going to Grateful Dead concerts early on in his sobriety and feeling strange about not drinking until he found a group of sober adults who also attended the concerts. So, Rumely set out to create that group, but on a larger scale.

In 2018, Rumely said that S.A.F.E. hosted 30 events which more than 1,000 people attended, most of whom were in their 20s. This year, he plans to scale the nonprofit even larger.

“There is a huge, pent-up demand nationally for this type of movement,” he said. He plans to create software for S.A.F.E. that will allow people across the country to organize similar sober tailgating parties or sober meet ups for concerts and other events.

S.A.F.E. aims to host 72 sober tailgates at 72 different universities in the fall, a sober spring break that will include a sober Coachella experience and sober nights at Major League Baseball games. So far, the nonprofit has partnered with local sporting teams and state universities, and has held sober tailgates in Los Angeles, Ann Arbor, Michigan and South Bend, Ind.. They also plan to add sponsorships this year.

In 2017, more than 72,000 people died from drug overdoses, mainly related to fentanyl, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. When talking about the numbers, Rumely said, “I just feel like we’re not giving these kids a chance if we don’t develop a secondary culture.

“There is a need for this,” Rumely added. “It’s a very difficult thing to make sobriety cool, and there’s no money in abstinence, but we need to protect this generation.”

Madeline St. Amour: 303-684-5212, mstamour@prairiemountainmedia.com

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