When it comes to having a voice in recovery, Project VOX — specifically Greater Macomb Project VOX — is gearing up for a busy year in the metro-Detroit area. While we sandwich this news between Beer Can Appreciation Day (January 24) and International World-Thinking Day (February 22), it’s not too late to make a resolution for 2016 as the year to be free of substance abuse.
The Latin word for voice, VOX, is the latest symbol for those suffering with addiction — serving as a focal point for healthy recovery. Organizers credit it for putting a face and voice to recovery, citing this undertaking as a pivotal key to reducing the stigma associated with addiction. By planning sober events, educational community presentations and encouraging better knowledge and less stigma, VOX nudges today’s addicts to want to recover and seek help in that process. The primary goal is to create successful long-term recovery throughout the community, with full access to treatment and other available resources, including advocacy.
Macomb Coordinator Mark Kilgore, of Roseville, said, “I think it is very important that the families of a person with a substance-use disorder also have (the means) to learn how to take care of themselves.”
Macomb’s VOX began in 2006 as a grassroots collaboration with individuals in recovery, their families and friends, supporters and other allies. It was modeled after the Flint Area Project VOX as well as a third VOX group near Michigan’s capital, with each independent of one another. CARE of Southeastern Michigan, located in Fraser, is a key sponsor of the Macomb group.
“Some of our future plans include sober events each month to help those in recovery have fun in a safe environment,” said Kilgore. “On January 30th, we’ll be bowling at Lakeshore Lanes in St. Clair Shores, which has no bar. So the temptation to drink is removed.”
Kilgore, who similarly plans an ice-skating venture in front of Warren’s City Hall for February, is also building a group speakers bureau that can introduce the VOX mission throughout the area. Membership hovers around 50, with hopes of drawing the interest of many more.
VOX activities include an annual river cruise, a recovering artists’ project called Art from the Heart, and relaxing, fun events that promote healthy socialization, like movie nights and pool parties. Business is handled at monthly VOX meetings, which welcome all members and their families. VOX also keeps members apprised of updates in legislative actions relative to them, and provides training in stigma reduction and messaging, another facet of public communication.
The group additionally creates access to viewing of the documentary centered on 23 million Americans currently in recovery, “The Anonymous People.”
Kilgore is energized, however, by the message he and others carry to those who haven’t yet found recovery. As a long-time community advocate for sobriety, he fearlessly outs his recovery, sharing his own sentiments: “I have been in recovery since 1998, and it’s important that those in recovery let their voices be heard. We stand on the victorious side of addiction, and we want to let the light of recovery shine into the darkness of addiction to give others hope.”
To learn more about the Greater Macomb Project VOX, see their Facebook page or contact Kilgore at (586) 218.5274 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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