Story last updated at 9/2/2009 - 2:31 pm
JUNEAU - September is National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month, presented by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the observance and the theme is "Join the Voices of Recovery: Together We Learn, Together We Heal."
Recovery Month is both a celebration and an educational opportunity, honoring those in recovery and those who provide recovery services. In addition, the tradition aims to educate the public about the national health crisis that is substance abuse and to provide encouragement that recovery from addiction is possible.
The "Art of Recovery" is a gallery show that will feature work by local artists who are in recovery from addiction disorders and/or mental illness. The art will hang in the back room of the Silverbow Bakery, where an opening reception will be held on Friday, Sept. 4 from 5 to 7 p.m.
"We are very excited and happy to have a wide variety of art and artists," said event coordinator Jackie Wagner. "This show exemplifies the diverse group of people that recovery encompasses."
Pieces in the show will be for sale. Unsold work will be on display during Soberfest, a celebration that will be held from 5:30 to 11 p.m. on Sept. 25 at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center. The free party will give community members an opportunity to socialize in an alcohol-free environment with live music, food, speakers, informational booths, door prizes and dancing. Music will be provided by the musicians of "Sit In With The Band," who will provide an open mic opportunity for songwriters or poets to share a piece about recovery.
Poets may also share their recovery-inspired poetry at the Recovery Poetry Slam, which will be held from 7-9 p.m. on Sept. 12 at the University of Alaska Southeast Egan Auditorium. Each performer will be scored by a panel of five judges who will be randomly selected from the audience. Poets are asked to limit their performances to three minutes, and they are encouraged to put dual emphasis on writing and delivery.
Each Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m., the Gold Town Nickelodeon theater will show free films on the topic of recovery and addiction. The "Experience, Strength and Hope: Stories of Recovery" film festival will begin Sept. 2 with a showing of "Rent." "Day of Wine and Roses" will be shown Sept. 9, followed by "My Name Is Bill W." on Sept. 16, "Drugstore Cowboy" on Sept. 23 and "Clean and Sober" on Sept. 30.
Local book clubs are encouraged to focus on books on the topics of addiction and recovery during the month of September. Hearthside Books will feature a display of suggested titles.
Youth groups and schools are encouraged to celebrate Recovery Month by creating artwork for the "I Am My Own Anti-Drug" poster event. Youth are encouraged to draw or paint an image of themselves surrounded by their favorite healthy activities. The posters will be hung in schools after completion. Contact Jackie Wagner at 463-3755 for more information about this program.
FASD AWARENESS DAY
To raise awareness for those who may be affected by alcohol before they are even born, community members will observe Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day on Sept. 9.
Alaska sees 16.3 children per 1,000 born with FASD, a rate higher than any other state in the nation. Children born with FASD commonly experience life-long physical, mental, behavioral and learning disabilities.
"There is no safe amount of alcohol to drink at any time during pregnancy," said Gayle Young, SEARHC Neurodevelopmental Team Coordinator for the SEARHC Haa Toowóo Náakw Hít Outpatient Behavioral Health Clinic in Sitka. "Each time a pregnant woman drinks, her baby drinks too."
On Sept. 9, participating restaurants in Juneau will serve free non-alcoholic beverages to pregnant women in an effort to advocate against this disorder that is completely preventable.
Sitkans are invited to attend the "Dessert and Conversation" gathering from 6-8 p.m. on Sept. 8 at the Blatchley Middle School library. Community members who have lived with children experiencing FASD will be in attendance to share their stories and answer questions.
For more information about Recovery Month, visit recoverymonth.gov.