Everyone defines recovery differently.
That opening statement from Annie Fridh, administrator of the Rosecrance Ware Center, set the tone for Recovery Fest, held May 29 at the facility.
“It comes from your heart and soul, and we’re excited that we get to be part of your journey,” Fridh told the crowd.
Dozens of clients and staff members gathered for food and awards as part of the event, the second held since last year. Recovery Fest celebrates the stories of clients who strive to achieve successful recovery despite challenging circumstances.
Teams of employees nominated clients for special recognition. Programs represented at the event were Assertive Community Treatment (ACT), housing, outpatient, Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH), veterans housing, substance abuse, Community Support Team (CST) and Therapeutic Intervention Programs (TIP).
Clients were introduced by staff members who work closely with them. Team leader Leah Spindler kicked off the presentations, speaking of a female ACT client who had made “incredible strides in her recovery” after previously living in a nursing home.
Several clients have co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders but happily talked about their newfound sobriety. One woman, an outpatient services client, got choked up talking about how she had to change for herself first, but also for her three children.
Another outpatient client proudly told the crowd, “I am no longer letting my diagnosis define me.”
Twelve clients in all were recognized for their achievements. Mary Ann Abate, Rosecrance’s vice president of public policy, aimed to close the program with an inspirational message but told the crowd, “You left us with the words of inspiration.”
“You’re very courageous,” she said. “Mental illness is not always understood by all professionals. … Without mental health, we don’t have health.”