Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you. The staff and I at the Family Recovery Center wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year. As this is often the time we take stock of our blessings, both here at the Center and at home, many thoughts come to mind.
Many of us have heard the phrase, "Pay it forward," in relation to our wanting to help others, repay members of our community for their kindnesses, our veterans for contributions to our nation, and to those countless others who make our lives that much nicer or more pleasant.
Just this past weekend, Mark perchance met a group from this agency, 17 children who were part of our children's Saturday group and the six staff members, and treated all to lunch at the local McDonald's. He did not know of us beforehand, yet reached out to our clients. Pictures show groups of very happy youngsters. To you, Mark, we say "thank you so very much." This is just one of many acts of kindness the community continues to bestow on this agency and its clients.
During this holiday season, a number of churches throughout the county have gifted our clients and their children with many kind acts of generosity. We even have groups that come yearly with their spades, shovels, ladders, tools and mulch to work around our properties. We say "thank you very much" for your continued support.
Over the many years I have spent here at the agency, these acts of kindness and generosity still thrill me and continually make me count our blessings.
In 2014, you will see us continue to grow, as we move into our newly-expanded facility adjacent to our present location. Here we will be expanding our clinical services for the residents of the county, work with employers through our Drug Free Workplace Solutions program, and see the extension of our Education Department into all the schools and corners of community.
I know that many of you continually read and see reports of the growing opiate epidemic here as well as throughout the nation. We have addressed this in a number of previous articles and will continue to do so in the coming months. Further, we continue to see substance abuse crossing all aspects of society in our area. Addiction to alcohol or drugs does not show favoritism or discrimination.
Yet, let me tell you that recovery is happening here in Columbiana County, as evidenced by the numbers of individuals who continually work on repairing their lives and attending AA and NA meetings throughout the area. Oxford House in Salem opens its doors to men and women who need to find recovery as well as those who are willing to share their recovery with others.
Recovery is not easy, but let me encourage you that there is help out there. Taking that first step is often the hardest. The disease of addiction is both cunning and baffling to those of us who have not experienced it firsthand.
Recovery is what Family Recovery Center is all about. We work with our clients, propose or suggest to them the tools that are certain to help them achieve what so many of us take for granted. Please bear with us as we walk through these difficult times with our clients. Try not to be judgmental because of their choices.
You, as our readers, can serve as role models for our clients. They need your helping hand, your words of encouragement, your support in the workplace and community. As I have read somewhere, "It is far better to forgive and forget than to resent and remember."
Recovery from alcohol or drug abuse is not for the fainthearted. It takes the support of family and community to make it work, along with the individual's dogged pursuit of staying clean and sober.
This year Family Recovery Center celebrated its 40th anniversary. For those of us (you and me) who have reached this milestone in our own lives, we know the path to a long relationship between spouse and others continually takes work, words of encouragement and words of love.
Your support and encouragement is what keeps the staff coming to work each day, and to meet the challenges presented to us on a daily basis. We know you are our cheerleaders. This team promises you our best to keep you informed and work with the individuals in our community who seek recovery.
As you hang your stockings by the chimney with care, bake those wonderful Christmas cookies, bringing back memories of youth and exchange presents with your loved ones, please remember that you are loved for all the kindnesses you have shown us during this past year. We at Family Recovery Center say "thank you" and wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.