Recovery event at Niles Riverfront Park to bring awareness to addiction

Published 9:20 am Thursday, September 17, 2015

Doug knows how destructive addiction can be to a person’s life and how difficult it can be to get past.

The 54-year-old Niles man, whose last name is not being printed so as not to undermine the efforts of the anonymous recovery program in which he has participated, has battled addiction himself.

It began with alcohol and escalated to heavy drug use. When his wife took away his daughter on Father’s Day seven years ago, Doug said he knew it was time to kick the habit for good.

“I was on the verge of losing my career, my daughter, my relationships — that was my bottom,” he said.

Today, Doug is seven years sober and on a mission to help others dealing with the same problems he faced.

He has helped organize an event dedicated to spreading awareness of addiction and to help those who are battling the disease.

The first ever “Recovery at the Riverfront” is scheduled for 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19 at Riverfront Park in Niles.

The free event is open to community members in recovery from addiction, those who desire to be in recovery and family and friends.

“We don’t want any more addicts to die,” Doug said. “We want them to know there is a way out.”

The event will feature free food and drinks, although attendees are asked to bring a dish to pass.

There will be several speakers, live music and an opportunity to share experiences with others coping with addiction.

Doug credits joining a local Narcotics Anonymous program with helping him recover. A big portion of that, he said, was learning and talking with other addicts.

“It got me out of myself. I lost my compulsion and desire to use,” he said. “I am very happy, joyous and free.”

The event is sponsored by Community Healing Center and the Berrien County Recovery Oriented System of Care (ROSC) Committee.

For more information about recovery programs in southwest Michigan, visit the website michigan-na-org/sw-michigan.