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'Maybe It's Time': Families of Addicts Celebrate Recovery At Rally

"The Big Picture": A group photo of those celebrating sobriety and anyone touched by addiction. People stand together outside in the sun in Courthouse Square in Dayton, holding banners.
Alejandro Figueroa
The Big Picture: A group photo of those celebrating sobriety and anyone touched by addiction.

The group Families of Addicts held its eighth annual Rally for Recovery on Sunday at Courthouse Square in Dayton. Organizers say the rally shows that sobriety is possible, and that resources are available for families whose loved one might be struggling with addiction.

FOA is an organization that helps families by working to eliminate the stigma associated with drug addiction, and by promoting recovery.

At the rally, there were about 50 resource tables with information on recovery and several speakers talked about their journey through recovery.

This year's rally celebrates sobriety with the theme: Maybe it’s Time. It’s based on a song by the rock band Sixx:A.M.

The song was suggested by Buck Bertke, an FOA family member. He said the organization has helped him understand and cope with a loved one who struggled with addiction.

“It's a roller coaster ride and it has ups and downs,” Bertke said. “Sometimes it was fast and furious. Sometimes it's kind of creeping up the hill and then you take off and I think a lot of people in this position feel that way.”

Lori Erion, the founding member of FOA, says the song is fitting after a challenging pandemic year. And at a time when drug overdose deaths in Ohio are at their highest since 2017.

“The maybe it's time was about having hope that we're talking about it, hope that people do recover, hope that we can say maybe it's time,” Erion said. “I don't feel like any one of our lives is exactly where we want it to be. So even if you don't even have an affiliation with addiction, it's time for something somewhere.”

In 2020, Ohio had about 5,215 overdose deaths, an increase from the year prior when Ohio was experiencing a significant decrease in opioid-related deaths, according to a data report from the National Center for Health Statistics.

Erion said addiction hasn’t gone anywhere. And she hopes that families will keep talking about it.

“Addiction is a brain illness, it's not a choice,” Erion said. “So that's why we come out here and we let families know you are not alone. And we let them know that recovery is possible and that families can be happy.”