Under a beautiful blue sky in the crisp pre-autumn air, people in jeans and T-shirts with messages such as, “One day at a time,” “A journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step,” or the name of the local baseball team, the York Revolution, blended in with the more formally dressed. Young folks sporting piercings and tattoos mingled with white-haired elders.
A balloon artist wowed the crowd with elaborate sculptures of monkeys in palm trees, pink elephant heads, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The York/Adams County Drug & Alcohol Commission, Memorial Hospital’s smoking cessation program, and a Pennsylvania DUI Association van with a driving simulator added to the festivities. It was Recovery Day at this baseball stadium, a gathering of kindred spirits with one thing in common: recovery from addiction.
Recognizing Those in Recovery and Their Supporters
The September event heralded National Recovery Month, which is now in its 25th year and focuses on the possibilities and benefits of addiction recovery, successful treatment options, and a sense of hope. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the sponsoring organization, this year’s theme is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Speak Up, Reach Out” as a means of paying tribute to those who’ve made tremendous life changes, as well as family, friends and treatment programs that support them through the process.
On this sunny day at York’s Santander Stadium, staff members from Clarity Way, an addiction treatment center in neighboring Hanover, brought their enthusiasm, program information, and goodies like brochures, pens and candles to represent hope and a light in the darkness. Three staffers — Mandy May, house manager, Michele McCleary, admissions director, and Andres Zayas of the recovery support staff — greeted those who stopped by the table and welcomed their questions. “A lot of people who come to baseball games might not be aware of the many addiction recovery resources available,” May says.
Having Fun Without Alcohol
In addition to raising awareness, the baseball game was a day of fun for several Clarity Way clients, according to May. Clarity Way also takes clients kayaking, to the movies, bowling, shopping, and hiking. As in all stadiums, beer is available for purchase, and when Clarity Way clients attend games, there is rigorous staff supervision. “Alcohol is everywhere,” May says. “It’s a reality. It helps people to learn to live in a world where alcohol is present, and they learn to process their triggers in a safe way with staff and other people in groups.” Since baseball is a family event, “It’s also a good way to show people who may not be familiar with addiction that we have fun in recovery,” May says. “You don’t have to be drinking to have a good time.” Clarity Way has sponsored York’s Recovery Day for five years. “It’s all about everyone coming together in team spirit,” May says.
That was evident in the “Recovery Circle” that took place on the field prior to the opening pitch. More than 100 colorfully garbed people formed a rainbow of humanity and stood together, holding hands and reciting the Serenity Prayer. Those who weren’t in the circle joined in from where they were seated in the stands. Before the gathering, an announcer’s voice on the loudspeaker honored those in recovery, those still in the throes of addiction, and those who’ve lost their lives to addiction. Clarity Way is proud to step up to the plate in the game of recovery, where stakes are high and home runs are measured in lives reclaimed.