Bangor session to stress addiction issues

By Meg Haskell, BDN Staff
Posted Aug. 31, 2008, at 11:35 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Area residents in long-term recovery from addiction to alcohol and drugs, as well as their families and the professionals who support them, are invited to attend a summit on addiction recovery.

The daylong event, organized in recognition of National Recovery Month, will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 4, at the Bangor Civic Center on Main Street.

Titled “Broadening the Base for Recovery: Promoting Recovery Pathways in the 21st Century,” the conference aims to raise awareness of successful recovery strategies, assess barriers to treatment, and identify ways in which the larger community can better support individuals trying to recover from drug and alcohol abuse and addiction.

Shawn Yardley, director of Bangor’s Department of Health and Community Services, said the public often hears about people at “the height of addiction” — when their sickness is uncontrolled, their behaviors outrageous, dangerous and self-destructive.

“But when people get into recovery, they go into the wood-work,” said Yardley, who is himself in long-term recovery from alcoholism. “There is limited recognition that there are many of us living lives of sobriety.” The reasons are many, he said, including the tradition of anonymity associated with 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous. A sense of shame, the need to protect family members, and other factors also contribute to the invisibility of the recovery community, he said.

In order to encourage and support individuals battling addictions, communities need to make success stories more visible and offer a range of recovery options, including 12-step programs, medical treatment, counseling services and programs founded on religious traditions.

“People looking to recover from addiction need a sense that they’re not alone, that their disease doesn’t have to be terminal and that there are [recovery] alternatives,” Yardley said.

Thursday’s conference, sponsored by the Bangor Area Recovering Community Coalition and other groups, will feature a keynote address by state Attorney General Steven Rowe, a panel discussion and a variety of breakout sessions.

Registration is $15 and includes lunch. All participants are invited to a reception after the conference featuring entertainment and live music.

For information or to register, contact Dawn Furbush, 992-4468 or e-mail dawn.furbush@bangormaine.gov

http://bangordailynews.com/2008/08/31/health/bangor-session-to-stress-addiction-issues/ printed on July 31, 2014