In April 2011 Avera McKennan partnered with the non-profit group Face It TOGETHER. Together they are working to make Sioux Falls a community that accepts and embraces recovery from alcohol and other drug problems. Nancy Naeve Brown talked with a Sioux Falls woman who, with the help of Face It TOGETHER is sober today and found in recovery a new purpose for life.
Jenny Williams has the best job title. She is the Director of First Impressions at the Sioux Falls Face It TOGETHER office. Face It is a clearing house that provides advocacy, awareness and recovery support services for people struggling with substance abuse. Jenny is good at her job because she can totally relate to the faces that walk through the door because she's been in their shoes.
Jenny says, "Five years ago I had a personal tragedy happen and my way of coping with the loss was drinking and drugging. Anything to get numb and I didn't know how to stop."
Face It TOGETHER connected Jenny to a recovery program. and she is proud to say she is clean and sober today, but will always be in "recovery".
Jenny says, "So that was the gift sobriety. I'm way more spiritual. I've learned how to pray and meditate and I'm at peace now. I've never felt this way before."
Research shows in Sioux Falls alone 17,000 people like Jenny struggle with substance abuse. A chronic disease more common than breast cancer and heart disease. Avera McKennan partnered with Face It to help bring awareness to a problem few of us understand.
Mary Wolf, LPC-MH, is the Director of Avera Behavioral Health Outpatient Services. She says, "Because it really does help our community when people go into some form of recovery. It helps families be healthier, there is less neglect and abuse of children. There is less crime and it also helps employers because when an employee goes into recovery there is higher productivity and less health care costs."
To help shed light on something often shrouded in shame Face It TOGETHER is hosting a community walk September 24th at 6:30 am at Falls Park called March Into The Light.
Mary says, "It starts in the darkness and the 1.2 mile walk finishes in the light symbolizing we want this issue, this disease, out in the light and we want to celebrate recovery."
Jenny hopes people come to the walk with their heads held high, knowing they aren't alone, there is help and they'll face it together.
Registration the day of walk on September 24th begins at 6 am. The walk starts at 6:30 am. To register online go to www.faceitsiouxfalls.org or call 605-274-2262. 1-855-4-FACE IT.
You can go to www.AveraBehavioralHealth.org. Help is just a phone call away 605-322-4079.