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Enjoying life to its fullest

Tyler Kresse plays among balloons at the Western Tidewater Community Services Board celebration of National Recovery Month on Saturday afternoon. The band Yellow Snow played as people enjoyed a fried chicken lunch.

Celebration was in order at the Western Tidewater Community Services Center on Saturday.

Employees, clients and guests came together to celebrate National Recovery Month with activities, meetings, music and food.

“We want to showcase recovery,” said Patricia Thornes. “Recovery is something to celebrate. We want to enjoy it with people and show others that it is possible and it can happen. It’s a day of clean, wholesome fun for families.”

The Western Tidewater Community Services board helps people with mental health disorders, intellectual disabilities and substance abuse problems in Suffolk, Franklin and the counties of Isle of Wight and Southampton.

Saturday’s celebration focused on those citizens who have struggled with substance abuse and related disorders.

“This year’s theme was ‘Join the voices of recovery, more than ever,’” Thornes said. “It is so true. It’s about our community needing recovery now, more than ever. We’ve had a number of clients die of overdoses this year. The lifestyle of addiction is fatal, and it’s something that is treatable.”

To help treat those in need, the center offers several levels of treatment.

Screening is available for people who aren’t sure if they have a problem. Alcohol Safety Action programs are available for people who need to complete a course for legal reasons, such as a DUI charge. For those with substance abuse issues, there are intensive outpatient and residential treatment programs.

“We want people to understand that treatment — whatever their severity — is there for them,” Thornes said.

To celebrate recovery this year, families were invited to engage in activities, 12-step meetings, a fried chicken picnic lunch with music by Yellow Snow and games, including horseshoes, volleyball, basketball and cornhole.

“An event like today’s just does your heart good,” Thornes said. “You see families engaged and enjoying each other. That’s not something that happens with substance abuse. It’s great to see them have a real life and enjoying it abundantly.”