‘It’s so important to recognize the work, the struggle, and the fight that people are making every day in the battle against addiction’: 8th annual Rockin’ Out For Recovery celebration will include guest speakers, agency tables, live music, and free barbecue on Sept. 12
Community members who have taken the steps to overcome addiction will be celebrated at the Roberta Bondar Pavilion this Tuesday for the 8th annual Rockin’ Out For Recovery.
Hosted by the Sault Ste. Marie & Area Drug Strategy, the event will include guest speakers with lived experiences of addiction and concurrent disorders. Several community partners and agencies will have information on how to access their services, while attendees can also enjoy live music and a free barbecue.
Terri Nicholson, past chair of the SSM & Area Drug Strategy and a concurrent disorders counsellor at the Sault Area Hospital, says the event is a great opportunity to pay tribute to locals who have made a genuine effort in getting back on track.
“It’s so important to recognize the work, the struggle, and the fight that people are making every day in the battle against addiction, and honour and celebrate what they’ve been able to do and what they continue to do,” she told SooToday. “This night is all about celebrating and the joy that comes with any success in the recovery journey.”
According to Nicholson, the Drug Strategy meets monthly with its partners to determine what kind of programming they can offer to community members who rely on their services. Then, they design and create unique treatment plans that they believe will work for each individual in need of help.
“Sometimes we’re way behind the eight ball on this because we’re using programming that’s set up for bigger communities with more access to things,” she says. “We are a northern community with different needs than the rest of the province.”
Q1 statistics released last month by the Office of the Chief Coroner showed Algoma Public Health had the second-highest opioid toxicity mortality rate in the province between April 2022 and March 2023, when compared to the same period one year prior.
Currently, the death rate in Algoma is 50 per 100,000 people, virtually unchanged from the year before and more than double the provincial average.
“The number of people we’re losing is way higher than the rest of the province,” Nicholson says. “The crisis isn’t slowing down. We’re still unfortunately not serviced in the manner that would start to make significant change for the mental health and addictions crisis in the community.”
“It’s terrifying, and we need to do better.”
From her perspective, Nicholson says mental health and addictions wasn’t something most people were comfortable talking about, particularly in the earlier years of her career. But she senses the conversations around the community have grown immensely in recent times.
“I think we’re doing a good job at bringing that to the foreground of topics of interest, and everyone knows we need more services,” she says. “SOYA (Save Our Young Adults) is a big part of that – they get the attention and the awareness that these issues need. Everybody knows we need more support and kindness.”
Having worked in mental health and addictions for 25 years, Nicholson says she gets a tremendous amount of enjoyment in meeting people and listening to their stories of strength and determination, which Rockin’ Out For Recovery intends to do this week.
“The smartest people I know are people who live every day with concurrent disorders,” she says. “They’re some of the most creative and compassionate people for their fellow community members.”
“There’s so much loss and heartache, and yet we need to refocus and remember the people who are still fighting and have been able to recover – because recovery happens. People can do it, and we’re here to help.”
Rockin’ Out For Recovery will take place at the Roberta Bondar Pavilion on Tuesday, Sept. 12 from 5 to 7 p.m.
– with files from Kenneth Armstrong