PDT Staff Writer
SOLACE (Surviving Our Loss And Continuing Everyday) in conjunction with The Counseling Centers Clubhouse have scheduled a memorial celebration Sunday to honor those who have lost their lives to drug addiction and encourage those currently going through recovery.
According to Barb Howard, one of the event organizers, the idea for the event came from a SOLACE member who recently lost a loved one.
“He wanted to do a celebrate recovery memorial video and add his wife to our memory wall. So, we started brainstorming and this event is a result,” Howard said.
SOLACE has maintained a memory wall of pictures of those who lost their lives in drug related deaths. Howard said there are currently 42 faces on their memory wall with eight more being added Sunday.
“This is going to be a memorial service celebration. We don’t want it to be depressing. We want people to celebrate the lives of those we lost. We also want to celebrate who they were and their goodness,” Howard said.
Howard said the event will be held at The Counseling Centers Club House located on U.S. 52 in Portsmouth 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.
“Throughout the day we will have guest speakers that will tell their stories and talking about their loved ones,” Howard said. “We’re including in this service people of Stepping Stones, Marsh House and Second Chance Center.”
She said among the guest speakers will be Ed Hughes, CEO of The Counseling Center, Lyndsay Kulp, a recovering addict and SOLACE volunteer and Kathy Newman, a recovering addict and SOLACE volunteer.
“We are doing this in a effort to bring the community together. People should come to this event to get a better understanding of what the recovery community is like and to get our side of the story,” Kulp said. “This is going to be a good thing to get the community aware of what’s going on. I will be talking about my recovery story and how I got involved with SOLACE.
“In January of 2012 I got arrested for possession of Illegal drugs and at the time I did not think I had a problem but, obviously I did. Around the same time my friend Brooke lost her boyfriend to suicide and we were both getting sober around that same time also. One day, we decided to come to a SOLACE meeting and its been full throttle since then, in a good way.”
Newman said she also plans to talk about her journey toward recovery.
“I plan on talking about my own recovery and my sister that passed away 11 years ago,” Newman said. “I’m a single mom with two little boys, I got clean 18 months ago, I went though Stepping Stones and I was just sick and tired of being sick and tired. I got involved with SOLACE because of a family member who was urging me to deal with my grief. That was an excuse for me to use for several years. I started coming to SOLACE and talking about her. Things are looking up I’m getting ready to go to college to get a degree in social services.”
Howard thinks the people of the community would be surprised at what some of people going through recovery have to say.
“A lot of their recovery depends of the community. They want people to rally behind them and support them. A lot of them don’t have family that can give them that support,” Howard said. “So, they have to turn to the community, to try to get that support they so desperately need. We’re (SOLACE) trying to set ourselves up to be that community.”
Howard said one of the ways SOLACE is working to do that is by hosting a celebrate recovery night on Thursday nights. She said on an average week there will be between 40-50 people in attendance. Attendees of these classes are those who are in recovery.
She said SOLACE is planing to hold annual memorial services. For more information about SOLACE visiting them on Facebook.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or firstname.lastname@example.org.