This Sunday, May 17, CARE of Southeastern Michigan is hosting its third annual Bike Path: Pedaling Ahead Toward Health. CARE of Southeastern Michigan’s mission is to educate, link and support individuals, families, businesses and communities affected by family concerns, workplace challenges, mental health conditions and the misuse of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Bike PATH helps with this cause. This event, held at Lake St. Clair Metropark in Harrison Township, will host a 2-mile, 10-mile, 25-mile and 60-mile ride, bicycle parade, vendors and raffles.
Proceeds from the event will benefit programs to help families and individuals like Casey, who are seeking sober, happy lives. Casey came to CARE in 2013 as a participant in the Peer Recovery Coach Program. The program pairs up coaches who are in long-term recovery to provide resources and skills to manage recovery from substance use. The program can help those seeking and celebrating sobriety with needs like housing, transportation, education, employment, mental health, social support and emotional wellness. The Peer Recovery Coach program currently consists of six coaches and serves around 150 individuals at any given time. Read Casey’s story below:
“I was living a pretty charmed life. I was college educated, employed as an accountant with Ford, I had a beautiful home and a wonderful man I was ready to spend my life with. In October of 2006 I made some pretty poor choices and those choices destroyed my charmed life and the world that I believed in. From 2006 to February of 2013 I was very determined to live my life high.
If it were not for CARE, I would not have met my coach, Kim. This program has helped save my life. Like most people in recovery, I was scared, confused, anxious and an absolute mess. Kim offered me her strength, hope and experiences, guiding me to an easier way of life away from the pain and misery of addiction.
CARE is a safe place where no one passes judgment. As addicts it is very easy to become overwhelmed with life on life’s terms. It is easy to wallow in self-pity or isolate which are steps to relapse. Meetings held at CARE allow us to vent and we are always welcomed with open arms and a box of tissues if needed. The CARE meetings are always a positive experience, leaving me in a better mood with a brand new sense of purpose. Everyone, addict or not, should have a meeting like this.
Early recovery is a very messy time. But Kim made the time less scary and taught me how to deal with my addiction. In my numerous visits to in-patient rehabs throughout the years, I had never learned everything that CARE has shown me over the course of the last year in the Peer Recovery Coach (PRC) program. Through CARE, I have also been able to sign up for parenting classes since one of my goals is to become a better mother.
The PRC program has helped me in more ways than I can possibly say. I truly believe that I am a better person today because of it. The program has given me hope, a solid support system, tools to deal with my addiction and resource. It taught me structure. Today I choose to recover.
Thank you CARE and all of its supporters. The program works. I highly recommend it to every addict no matter where you are in your recovery. I can honestly say that this program is one of the primary reasons that I am alive today. And not only sober, but happy.”
Casey has been very active in telling her story in the community. She has most recently spoken at a breakfast event hosted by CARE to engage community members in the Bike PATH event. Casey hopes that, through this event and her involvement with CARE, the organization will become more recognized. She wants the community to understand there is support through CARE and that it is an organization that can help people who may be experiencing struggles with addiction.
For more information, to register for Bike PATH, or find out how you can help, visit http://www.careofsem.com/events/bike-path/ or call (586) 541-CARE.
Meghan Kindsvater is development director for CARE of Southeastern Michigan.