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Strong communities make for strong recovery

Tony Perry has been in recovery for over 10 years. He says his life has changed significantly since he made the decision to leave a life of drugs behind.

By Carolyn Marnon – National Recovery Month is a national observance held every September to educate Americans that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those with a mental and/or substance use disorder to live a healthy and rewarding life.
Tony Perry has been on recovery road for the past 10 ½ years. Born and raised in Westland, he struggled with ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder), dyslexia and slow-learning. Addicted to drugs since the age of 15, he sold drugs and became caught up in the system. He’s had his home raided and been convicted of felonies.
When he got off probation for his felonies, Tony says he was a dope fiend who had lost everything. His dad had been killed by a drunk driver when Tony was 19. He had no friends. No one wanted to hang around him. He says he wanted to die. While sitting in his father’s basement, “I felt like I had no option to live.” He tried to kill himself while telling God he couldn’t live like this anymore. “It didn’t work,” he says. His family found him, and his life changed.
Tony went to church, got saved, and started the 12-step program at the church. Now he does community service with the Saved by Grace ministry at CrossPointe Community Church in Wayne. This ministry exists to help those who are seeking God’s help in ridding their lives of addiction and drawing closer to Him.
Westland Youth Assistance Executive Director Paul Motz says Tony was “awarded the Spirit of Giving Award for his willingness to share his story with our program participants.” Motz went on to say “Tony had a difficult childhood to say the least. Like many victims of trauma, Tony coped by engaging in reckless behaviors. His choices created dangerous situations for himself and for others. He eventually reached a point of deciding to live or not. He chose to live. He also chose to help others and he has done so successfully. He has been a phenomenal speaker for our at-risk youth and their families. He speaks approximately six-eight times per year sharing his vulnerabilities and road to recovery in a very impactful manner. He speaks of help being available and most importantly of hope. He encourages our young people to take advantage of opportunities that he did not have when he was young. Tony is a giving young man with a huge heart. He is a good friend that you can count on and has been a tremendous asset to the Westland Youth Assistance Program.”
Tony also gives back to the community by his outreach work in the Norwayne community. In the span of 10 years, he has married, has two children and a house.
According to recoverymonth.gov, “The 2019 Recovery Month theme, Join the Voices for Recovery: Together We Are Stronger, emphasizes the need to share resources and build networks across the country to support the many paths to recovery. It reminds us that mental and substance use disorders affect all of us and that we are all part of the solution. The Recovery Month observance will highlight inspiring stories to help thousands of people from all walks of life find the path to hope, health, and overall wellness. During the 30th anniversary of Recovery Month, communities across the nation will reflect on their positive strides and their plans to make recovery support services more accessible so people can live meaningful and productive lives. Over the years, recovery-oriented organizations have also played an essential role in states, cities, towns, and neighborhoods to help countless people start and sustain their recovery.”

Also, “Strong communities make for strong recovery. Community members—including families, neighbors, employers, educators, charitable organizations, and faith-based institutions— are the backbone of communities that foster recovery among its residents. Research shows that peer support services can provide a valuable approach to guide individuals as they work to maintain recovery.”
Helping others in recovery is what helps Tony. “It’s a daily process,” he says, “but it can be done.” His advice for others who want to recover? “Go to meetings and listen to those who’ve been around for awhile. Take that energy you used to get high and put that energy into recovery.”
Tony says there is a recovery meeting every Monday evening at 6:30 p.m. at CrossPointe Community Church, 36125 Glenwood Rd, Wayne. All are welcome to attend.
Find alcohol, drug, or mental health treatment facilities and programs around the country at findtreatment.samhsa.gov.
Find information on locating practitioners and treatment programs authorized to treat opioids, such as heroin or prescription pain relievers, at www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment/pract-itioner-program-data/treatment-practitioner-locator.
Find treatment programs in your state that treat recent onset of serious mental illnesses such as psychosis, schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, and other conditions at www.samhsa.gov/esmi-treatment-locator.
1-800-662-HELP (4357)
TTY: 1-800-487-4889
Website: www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline
Also known as, the Treatment Referral Routing Service, this Helpline provides 24-hour free and confidential treatment referral and information about mental and/or substance use disorders, prevention, and recovery in English and Spanish.

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