A group gathered in the healing garden of Linden Oaks at Edward in Naperville was living proof recovery from drug and alcohol dependency can happen.
“I had all the love any child could want,” said Mark, a guest speaker for Recovery Day held Saturday on the campus of Edward Hospital in Naperville.
Recovery Day celebrated the successes of those who are in recovery from chemical and alcohol addictions and serves as a reminder of the commitment to those who still need help.
The event was held in conjunction with National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month.
“Many of the people here today have years of sobriety,” said Beth Stack, manager of addiction services at Linden Oaks.
But while the day was set aside to celebrate recovery, there is concern among health professionals across the country over the number of youths and adults whose lives have spiraled through heroin addictions.
“It is disheartening and worrisome, but we also have people in recovery from heroin addiction,” she said.
Stack said the behavioral health hospital over the last few years has seen substantial increases in admissions for heroin and pain medication addictions.
Linden Oaks uses a combination of inpatient, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient and traditional outpatient programs to treat patients.
“In the last couple of years, there has been an increase in the number of overdose deaths in DuPage and Will counties. Within 17 days of July, 15 people died in DuPage County,” she added.
Mark, a member of Narcotics Anonymous, delivered his message of recovery remembering his beloved parents and his successes in the business world and music industry, which took a turn as the disease of addiction progressed.
“My drug of choice was yours, whatever you had, I wanted,” Mark told those gathered in the healing garden.
Mark said he pursued his love for music and had his first band in the sixth grade.
“I started drinking beer when I was 14,” he said.
Mark, 56, said his drug addiction started to take hold through broken relationships and loss of jobs. He said a turning point was when his younger sister was killed in a car crash.
“I didn’t want to feel anything anymore,” he said.
Mark credits his “higher power” for getting him to his first Narcotics Anonymous meeting.
“I was going to take $400 and buy as much dope as I could, that’s when something flipped,” he said.
Mark said his first meeting of Narcotics Anonymous was the start of his recovery.
“I felt at home,” he said.
Mark said although recovery hasn’t always been smooth over the past 11 years, he is happily married, has a job and he has worked to restore relationships.
“I used to think I could do anything,” he said. “Can I do anything today? No. Can I do the best I can? Yes.”