Wayne County Commissioners recognize National Recovery Month

By LIAM MAYO
Posted 9/14/21

HONESDALE, PA — In their Thursday, September 9 meeting, the Wayne County Commissioners issued a proclamation declaring September to be National Recovery Month in the county.

The proclamation …

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Wayne County Commissioners recognize National Recovery Month

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HONESDALE, PA — In their Thursday, September 9 meeting, the Wayne County Commissioners issued a proclamation declaring September to be National Recovery Month in the county.

The proclamation read, in part, “treatment and recovery services for mental and substance use disorders and co-occurring disorders is effective, and people can and do recover in our area and around the nation.”

In making the proclamation, the commissioners heard from representatives of the Wayne County Drug and Alcohol Commission, the Wayne County Psych Rehab Program, and Wayne County Behavioral Health, together with people in recovery with each of those organizations.

Steve Bair spoke both as a DUI coordinator with the drug and alcohol commission and as a person in recovery, talking about the stigma that accompanies the recovery process.

The opportunity to speak about his experiences had come up the previous year, Bair said, but he hadn’t felt comfortable talking openly about his experiences at that time. Since then, through conversation and through soul-searching, he had realized that the best way to move forward was to seize the opportunity to speak.

“I chose to speak today so that the stigma of addiction could change,” he said.

Other people in recovery present spoke of the support they had received from Wayne County’s community services.

Kelly Wietry, a person in recovery for three and a half years, said that, while she had been forced into recovery initially, “just the love you get when you walk in the door” helped her stay on the path. She was still friends with people she had met in recovery, she said; she was getting married in two weeks, and some of them would be there.

Autumn DeLong-VanDerhoff, another person in recovery, said that Wayne County’s services helped hold her accountable. “I don’t think I’ve ever worked so hard to stay sober.” A counselor with the drug and alcohol commission, Jim Simpson, confirmed and praised the steps Autumn had taken in recovery; she walks through weather and snow and ice to make her appointments, he said, because she is without a reliable method of transportation.

Several individuals in recovery with Wayne County Behavioral Health also spoke, talking about their struggles and successes in recovery from mental disorders.

Carolyn Smith spoke of a period in her life when she had faced several tragedies in quick succession, losing four family members over a six-month stretch of time. She’d had a nervous breakdown to the point where she couldn’t speak, and working her way from there to talking about her experiences in front of a crowded room had been a long journey.

Bonnie Smith spoke as well, listing all the accomplishments that had been possible through the psych rehab program: she had been out of the hospital for three years, she was living a healthier lifestyle, and she was in a caring relationship, among other successes.

Commissioners praised all those who spoke, saying it was a big step forward for people in recovery to have the courage to tell their stories.

They proclaimed September National Recovery Month in Wayne County, and said it would be observed through multiple avenues: through Recovery Month yard signs, through ads on Bold Gold Radio, and through the Wayne County Drug and Alcohol Facebook page.

There would also be recovery month events, said commissioners, at the Fred R. Miller Memorial Pavilion on Main Street in Honesdale on September 15, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., and on the Wayne County Courthouse lawn on September 22, from 12 noon to 3 p.m. Information  on accessing services in Wayne County would be provided, along with an explanation of how the recovery community can be supported.

The River Reporter is publishing special pages on the recovery community on September 30. If you have a story to tell, contact managing editor Annemarie Schuetz, copyeditor@riverreporter.com; to support the section with personal notes of encouragement and advertising, contact sales@riverreporter.com.

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