Ohio Rallies For Recovery

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Hundreds rallied outside of the Ohio Statehouse on Tuesday to celebrate National Recovery Month.

The Ohio Departments of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) joined the Ohio Citizen Advocates for Addiction Recovery, OSU Wexner Medical Center, and the Woods at Parkside to host the event.

Ohioans in recovery, addiction professionals, families, and advocates rallied together to spread awareness about substance abuse, addiction, and recovery.

They shared stories and celebrated sobriety milestones. Many said that recovery is possible so long as you 'speak up and reach out.'

Adam H. was one of the keynote recovery speakers.

He did not want to share his last name, but he did share his story.

After struggling with addiction, he decided to turn his life around and now is in recovery.

“I ended up changing these little things," he said. "I found momentum in my life. There I am a dope fiend, convicted felon, and I’m at Ohio State University getting straight As because my dad wanted me to. That’s what you people did for me.”

Many speakers cited the need for a support network while in recovery.

Sarah Nerad is the Program Manager for Collegiate Recovery at The Ohio State University. She spoke to the struggle of recovering while working as a student. She said it is a balancing act that many need help to achieve.

“If you have a lot of competing demands, recovery has to come first but studying for my finals is also really important too so how do I prioritize?" Nerad said. "Just being in recovery and the extra time commitments that requires: meetings, getting together with your support group, doing some writing, whatever that may be, is an additional time commitment that other students don’t have.”

In order to alleviate some of the stress, the group works with the University to help recovering students. She said that these students are now offered priority registration, which means they register alongside athletes and scholars. By giving recovering students this opportunity, they are able to prioritize things such as recovering meetings and doctors appointments.

Nerad said events like the Ohio Recovery Rally give individuals struggling with addiction hope for the future.

"This is our issue, this is our community's issue," she said. "So to be able to come together: people in recovery, family members, providers, government folks, and say we support this and we believe people get better, is so amazing to be a part of."

This marks the 25th year of Recovery Month.