‘Operation Recovery’ raises awareness for addiction recovery

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Members of the Addiction Counselig Club educated the public about their club. (Photo: James Healy/City College News)

By Casey Heinisch/[email protected]
Opinion Editor

The Addiction Counselling Club (ACC) organized their fifth annual Operation Recovery on Sept. 18 in the T Plaza.

Student Randy Anderson, ACC member and organizer of this event, said the whole point of Operation Recovery is to raise awareness for the struggle for recovery, and introducing a community of support.

The road to recovery is an arduous one. It is full of traps and pitfalls, all begging for relapse. Society looks at those battling addiction as if they have done something wrong. It treats them as criminals rather than victims of a disease. As with any illness, without treatment, the addiction isn’t going to get better, it will continue to fester and grow.

A wide variety of Minneapolis area treatment facilities were in attendance. These various facilities, who offer different types of experiences, catered to a vastly different demographics. The First Nations Recovery Center, Pride Institute, and 180 Degrees Inc., all offer different environments that work to create a safe and comfortable environment to assist the each person’s individual battle with addiction.

Not all of those in attendance were dedicated to addiction therapy and recovery. There were other various civic enrichment groups such as the Volunteers of America and MCTC’s Students Against Hunger and Homelessness. This backs up Anderson’s assertion that one of the main goals of Operation Recovery is to help continue building a community of support.

“It is great to see just how much help there is out there for us. It’s not something we talk about, so I didn’t know all this was here,” student Josh Miller said.

Students were able to make an early pledge for Green Dot day. (Photo: Katie Scott/City College News)
Students were able to make an early pledge for Green Dot day. (Photo: Katie Scott/City College News)

To offset the solemnity of how presentations on topics like this can be, the ACC organized an assortment of activities for attendees to enjoy, such as live music, and a bounce castle obstacle course.

After burning excess calories in the obstacle course, attendees could stop by one of the booths for free cotton candy and popcorn. Also, there were cake walks and raffles for those who enjoy a bit of light gambling. The atmosphere of the event was light and enthusiastic, and as a result, student attendance was plentiful.

There is a common theme displayed on a lot of the t-shirts of those in attendance. The shirts were displaying various loaded terms like “ex-addict”, “felon”, and ones that had the word stigma crossed out.

The intention appears to be to claim ownership of terms that may be used disparagingly, and turn them into a term of empowerment. In the process, hopefully, removing the pre-determined notions that people may be carrying around with them. Shame and embarrassment appear to be one of the major roadblocks that keep people from seeking treatment. Removing this shame and embarrassment is vital for recovery to take place.

Overall, the goals of the event were to raise awareness to the struggle of overcoming addiction and creating a supportive community. To this end, the event appeared to be a success.

If anyone has interest in getting involved, The ACC is open to anyone that attends or has attended MCTC in the past. Check out their Facebook page.

“23 and a half million people are in recovery. It is possible to quit, and you are not alone,” Anderson said.

See more photos from the event on our Facebook page.