By Dale Woodard on November 25, 2020.
The annual walk against addiction as well as hope and commitment for recovery was afoot Tuesday morning.
This year’s walk challenged people to reassess the way they look at addiction.
With a trek that started at city hall and ended at Galt Gardens, McMan’s fourth annual Addiction Awareness Recovery Walk took to the streets in windy conditions.
As part of National Addictions Awareness Week, the theme of this year’s walk was “The Change Starts With Me.”
“It builds off ‘The Stigma Ends With Me’ from last year,” said Tabitha Davey, Mobile Addictions Outreach student. “Lowering the stigma is about creating awareness and ‘The Change Starts With Me’ is taking that next step into accountability and responsibility to do what we can to bring support to the people who need it, but to also encourage those who are reaching out for support to participate.”
Carrying flags and banners, the bundled up group started its walk on the steps of city hall and headed to Galt Gardens.
Before starting the walk, which also featured Fresh Start, Sam’s Sober Living from the Youth Treatment Centre, Parkside Group Home, Foothills Detox Centre and Sage Clan in addition to McMan Mobile Outreach Addiction, organizers offered care packages full of information about all of the supports the community has to offer.
“National Addictions Awareness Week is the final week of November every year to bring awareness to all of the issues surrounding the needs for support and recovery and substance abuse,” said Davey. “We have multiple agencies here from the community to come out and support the initiative and awareness to addiction in Lethbridge.
“It’s very important to build community and build support, and when you’re making those changes from substance abuse and trying to re-integrate into a healthier lifestyle reconnecting with your sober support, your community agencies and groups it is really important to be connected in a substance-free lifestyle.”
Those taking part in this year’s walk were encouraged to use the hashtags #ChangeBeginsWithMe and #NAAW on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to demonstrate how they were making changes in the community.
Four years into the local walk, Davey noted the progress of the ongoing battle against addiction.
“We’re just doing our best, one foot in front of the other. It’s growing and growing.”
In past years the event featured speakers and a meal afterwards, but under COVID-19 protocols and wearing of masks the Galt Gardens portion of the event was kept short with a message thanking those who took part in the walk.
“We wanted to keep this event because with masking and social distancing it’s still possible to keep that awareness going,” said Cassidy Lorne, Mobile Addiction outreach worker with McMan. “It’s nice to get a lot of community engagement, a lot more awareness to what’s out there and then for us to engage and see how we’re able to bridge some of those gaps.”
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