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Locals Rally For Recovery Near You

In one of hundreds of Recovery Month events, massed addicts and politicians spread the love at a Westchester hospital.

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By Anthony Daconti

09/19/11

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In one of the many hundreds of local events organized for September's National Recovery Month, St. Vincent’s Hospital, NY, hosted the first annual Westchester County Recovery Rally on Saturday. Hundreds of addicts and volunteers gathered to change misconceptions about recovery, including National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence's Westchester executive director Joan Bonsignore. A recovering alcoholic and former St. Vincent’s patient, she urged the crowd: “Those of you who are not in recovery, I ask you to try to understand better.” Several politicians also attended, including New York Assemblyman Robert Castelli, who reassured participants, “You do make a difference. The very fact that you can confront a terrible thing in your life and say ‘I’m going into recovery, I’m getting my life back,’ is an important thing.” Like Recovery Month itself, Westchester's rally was organized by the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA). Dahlia Austin, Westchester County’s director of drug and alcohol abuse services and Assistant District Attorney Paul Scharf also spoke, as well as White Plains Judge Brian Hansbury, who acknowledged, “There are very few people who are truly criminals, down right to their heart and soul. Ninety percent or more [of those who appear in front of him] are people who have substance abuse problems.” Speakers stressed the importance of community, friends and family in an addict’s recovery. “Let me give you a quote from John and Paul, “said Castelli. “Not the Apostles, The Beatles. 'You get by with a little help from your friends.'" We seem to remember the next line of the song is about getting "high" thanks to those same obliging friends—but we know what he meant. Organizers look forward next year's event already, with Austin promising to make it "bigger and better" for 2012.

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