By Ryan Ottney
August 3, 2013
Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
Downtown was rocking Saturday during the Second Annual Rally for Recovery at Tracy Park in Portsmouth. The rally was a coordinated effort of the Portsmouth City Health Department, SOLACE (Surviving Our Loss And Continuing Everyday), the Counseling Center, The Garrett Maloney Memorial Foundation, and the ADAMHS (Alcohol, Drugs And Mental Health Services) Board.
“This is the second annual Rally For Recovery. It actually started with the idea by one of the guys in the Brothers of the Wheel motorcycle club; it was going to start out just as a poker run. Then pretty soon everybody wanted to do all these other things and it just grew big,” said Lisa Roberts, of the Portsmouth City Health Department. “I think we’re rallying for the recovery of our community in general, as far as just our economic recovery, our poor health recovery, and also our drug addiction recovery. All of those things.”
The Garrett Maloney Memorial Foundation sponsored a Battle of the Bands on the stage at Tracy Park, and there was lots of food and inflatables for the kids. The rally is an opportunity not only to inform the community about recovery programs, but also to celebrate its successes.
As a child Henry Roe watched his father struggle with alcohol, and he had his own first drink when he was just six years old. By high school, alcohol had taken over his life and led him to begin taking prescription drugs, then cocaine.
“I got in a lot of trouble. I hurt a lot of people. I hurt myself. I just — it was out of control. I couldn’t control it,” Roe said.
About a month ago his cousin overdosed on drugs, and that really got him thinking about the path he’s on.
“I just wanted a better life. I was sitting on the couch one day looking at my children, and I decided they deserved better. I deserved better. And the only way to give them better was to get help for myself. I want to be a productive member of society,” Roe said. “I went down to the Scudder School (The Counseling Center) and they put me in a program called the Marsh House. It’s an excellent program, and I’m so thankful and grateful for that program. It has really helped me see there is a better life and give me the tools to work on my life to get my life back the way I want it to be and the way it should be.”
Roe is still receiving treatment at the Marsh House, and has been in recovery for three weeks.
“I’m doing great. I’m fortunate to have my family supporting me. That’s a great thing,” he said. “Now when I look at my kids, I feel very happy that I see a smile on their face that they’re father’s getting help and being the father that he’s meant to be. It’s a work in progress.”
Roberts said it’s important for people hear stories like Henry Roe, to know that help is available and this community is fighting back against drugs.
“I think we’ve made tremendous progress and I think there’s been a lot of success. But I think at the very top there’s the problem of over-distribution of pills in general across the nation. Until Washington or the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) does something about that, I think it’s going to continue to be a problem,” she said.
To those who are still battling their addiction, Roe had some words he said he wishes someone would have said to him.
“There is help available. Make that first step. Make a call. Seek some help. The Scudder School, you can show up there and they will take you through the process of getting help. That’s the way I did it. Compass on 11th Street will also help call some hotlines. Just seek some help. There’s help available. Just reach out for it and take that first step,” Roe said.
Ryan Scott Ottney may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTwriter.