‘From addiction to abundance’: ARC celebrates hope during National Recovery Month

Published: Sep. 4, 2020 at 6:43 PM EDT
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LOUISA, Ky. (WYMT) - For 31 years, the nation has marked National Recovery Month to celebrate the people who are in recovery and share stories of hope. This month, that tradition continues.

Leaders at Addiction Recovery Care (ARC) say the organization makes a point to celebrate the stories of recovery year-round, with a mission to provide resources and refuge to people who are seeking guidance from their addiction with more than 30 addiction treatment facilities in Kentucky. So, this month is especially important in helping that mission move forward.

“What we do this month is, we take time to recognize where this thing started. Where this recovery movement started. And how far it’s come. And we don’t take even a second’s break of sharing the good news that hope and help are available,” said ARC Senior VP Matt Brown.

Brown began his recovery in 2014 after 18 years of active addiction. He said that was only possible because he had role models who showed him there is hope.

“There were people who had gotten better before me and they were bold enough and courageous enough to share their story with the public. And I saw them and I thought, ‘If they can get better, so can I,’” said Brown.

People like Vanessa Keeton, who is almost 10 years into her journey of recovery. After 13 years of living in active addiction she never thought she would find an escape.

“You know, they say it could happen to anybody. Like, it literally can happen to anybody. I didn’t have this traumatic childhood or this traumatic experience that then led me to drug addiction,” Keeton said. “It was just wanting to fit in and trying to find something to make me feel like I was enough.”

But thanks to the court system and her mother, she decided to move forward in seeking help. But Keeton became the first resident of ARC’s Karen’s Place, where Brown said she became a “trailblazer.” She has since obtained her bachelor’s degree, met her husband, and started a family and is now self-employed and offering her life lessons to the people who enter ARC.

According to Keeton, the journey has been anything but easy. She said every day begins with a reminder that she is in the fight of her life. But, with the resources and support she has received over the years, that past no longer defines where she is going.

“I truly believe that God has brought me from addiction to abundance,” she said. “I don’t care how far you have gone. I was homeless. I was an IV drug user. I had burned every bridge that I ever had in my life. But there is still hope for you.”

She said she longs for the day when the rest of the world will see the person instead of the addiction.

As the narrative for addiction and recovery changes, Brown said ARC and those who rely on it hope to see people educate themselves and share the stories of hope that someone may one day see as a stepping stone for their own journey out of the waters and onto the ARC.

He said keeping the stories of hope on the forefront, showing people that they are not alone, has served as one of the most reliable tools in battling addiction and contributing to the shift in resources in the last 10 years.

“To learn more not just about addiction, but about the solution, which is recovery,” said Brown. “And a lot of times people get those two things mixed up. But they’re very different. Addiction’s the problem. Recovery’s the solution.”

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