Why this rally promotes recovery ‘out loud’

The Big Pic from the 2018 Families of Addicts Rally 4 Recovery. CONTRIBUTED
The Big Pic from the 2018 Families of Addicts Rally 4 Recovery. CONTRIBUTED

Families of Addicts will host its sixth annual Rally 4 Recovery at downtown Dayton’s Courthouse Square later this month.

One of the area’s largest recovery events, it will run from 3 to 6 p.m. Aug. 25. The rally was started by FOA Founder Lori Erion to foster honest conversations about addiction and its impact on individuals, families and communities.

Last year the event pulled in more than 3,000 people, and Erion expects this year's event to draw about 3,500 to 4,000 people.

The Rally 4 Recovery is a family friendly event, she said, and the opposite of the KKK-affiliated group that rallied in late May in Dayton.

“In essence, this is a love rally and not a hate rally,” Erion said. “Three hours of just hope, celebration, healing and education.”

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About 65 resources and groups will be available at the rally, all of them centered around recovery and well-being. It’s important for the rally to have recovery resources available to everyone, Erion said.

“We have people who haven’t found recovery yet and come to the rally needing help,” she said. “People have come to the rally looking for help and were able to get what they needed way quicker and in a more compassionate way than on the phone.”

Dayton Recovers, an organization focused on eliminating stigmas and helping people reintegrate, will be highlighted at the rally. Co-founder Casey Steckling is set to speak at the event.

Steckling, who is in long-term recovery himself and has been clean for the past 12 years, said he started Dayton Recovers in 2018 because he wanted to help people in recovery rejoin society.

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“It was really hard for me to watch people that I loved go back to a community where they were set up for failure,” Steckling said.

Steckling said that stigmas interfere with a person in recovery’s reintegration. A way that Dayton Recovers, FOA and other organizations work on battling stigmas is to move past anonymous recovery and instead put names and faces on those who have been affected by addiction.

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“There wasn’t the reception available to allow recovery to be out loud,” when Steckling was looking for recovery options over a decade ago, he said.

The mindset of speaking out loud about recovery is what originally lead Erion to create the Rally 4 Recovery.

A primary reason why people enjoy the rally is because it’s an opportunity for people to be a part of something that is larger than themselves, Erion said. What she calls the “big picture” — an aerial photo of the crowd, including people in recovery — is a physical representation of that.

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“People love being part of our event, they get excited for it, people love to volunteer for it,” Erion said. “Being in that picture just makes a huge statement for a whole lot of individuals.”

Erion hopes to raise $60,000 at the rally to allow FOA to continue to help the families that have been affected by addiction. Erion said proceeds will help FOA move to a new building and implement new programming.