A graphic and disturbing dose of reality is on display at the Dawson County Courthouse to shed light on the number of people, young and old, affected by loved one’s drug and alcohol addictions.
“My mommy used meth two days before I was born,” is written on a pink laminated paper next to black, patent leather infant shoes.
Similar stories line the walls in the lobby of the courthouse — stories of adult men who lost everything because of their addiction. Stories of little girls that play dress up, because in their make believe world mommy is not a “crackhead” that never comes home. Stories of teens who dropped out of high school after having a cocaine addicted baby at the young age of 14.
These are real stories of people involved in the drug and alcohol treatment courts of Dawson and Hall counties, the local justice system’s alternative to jail time.
But they’re not all horror stories. There’s also the tales about the 45-year-old engineer who has now been clean for more than five years thanks to drug court and the teen prostitute who now has a fulltime job, is back in school and has learned to live again through rehab.
Friends of Recovery, a nonprofit supporting organization for Dawson and Hall counties drug and DUI courts, set up the Walk a Mile in my Shoes display earlier this month. The display is designed, not only to give the Dawson County community an inside look at the lives of addicts, but also to show that recovery and rehabilitation methods in place are helping these people get their lives back together.
Friends of Recovery, created in 2006, is a separate, but supporting, organization for Dawson and Hall counties’ drug and DUI courts, that fills gaps in court-funded services, such as job training, child care or residential treatment for offenders.
“The issue of recovery is community wide and widespread. There is no section of the community that is not touched through recovery,” said Ron Vedder, of Friends of Recovery.
Efforts made by organizations like Friends of Recovery make the journey to recovery obtainable.
Earlier this year, Friends of Recovery held a benefit 5K run through Gainesville and raised more than $3,500 to provide loans for utility bills, transportation and donations of goods and services for men and women who are trying to overcome addictions or mental health issues while in the court system.
Additional fundraisers are planned, Vedder said.
Dawsonville’s Georgia Racing Hall of Fame will be the midway stop on the way from Gainesville to Murrayville in the inaugural Clean and Sober Octoberfest Ride for Recovery.
The Oct. 4 poker run, which starts at First Baptist Church in Gainesville, travels west on Hwy. 53 to downtown Dawsonville and ends at Murrayville Park in northern Hall County, where there will be a cookout, family entertainment, prizes and games.
“Yes, we need the money the poker run will raise, but the bigger focus is getting the community educated and involved in the recovery effort,” Vedder said.
“Whatever the problem as the addicts go down that road to recovery, it’s phenomenal to see them getting well and making families whole again.”
The entry fee for the poker run is $25 and $15 for each additional rider. The event will go on rain or shine. For more information, call (770) 733-7493.
E-mail Michele Hester at firstname.lastname@example.org.