Community embarks on clean-up for Recovery Month
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Cape Town - In honour of Recovery Month for addiction, several organisations have rallied together to give back to their communities through clean-up operations and creating awareness of drug abuse.
Freeway Ministries, a rehab and sober living home, along with other organisations have come together to clean up Symphony Avenue Park.
It is a park that is used by local children but has also become a dumping ground for rubbish
Marketing and fundraising manager for Freeway Ministries Emile Naiker, said they wanted to give back to the community and not take from it like addiction often does.
“On September 23 to celebrate Recovery Month we are basically giving back to the community, we have seen not only the need for healing and restoring lives ruined by drugs. We have also seen the need with community rundown. We found this site that was beautiful that is just filled with household waste and rubble, and kids are playing in this filth so we decided to do something about this,” said Naiker.
They will be painting, running a feeding scheme and planting trees on the day.
Ward 68 councillor Martia Petersen, said that the park was a hotspot for dumping and there were have several attempts to educate people about waste management in the area.
“The City cleans up the area twice a week and in the next two days, it’s in the same state as before with the dumping. People need to take ownership, this is a sad behavioural pattern. We planted trees two months ago and they are damaged. We do have some money to upgrade that park, to fence it, put it in some gym equipment and stuff. The mindset needs to be changed to keep it clean. We welcome the clean-up,” said Petersen.
Director of Jubilee House Recovery Centre For Men Cecil Matthews, said it was important to create awareness about addiction.
“It is very important for everyone to understand that recovery is a long term thing. No one ever wakes up one morning and chooses to become an addict. Yes, it is was a choice for most addicts to taking the first puff, or that first hit, but most addicts also never thought that they will become addicted to that substance.
“Most addicts have stayed in that lifestyle longer than they thought they would and they've lost more than they ever thought they would. Recovery is hard work for the addict who wants to be clean because they have to unlearn a lot of the bad habits that have become part of their lifestyle. The most important lesson for me on recovery is that it is not a six week or three month recovery is a fight for your life,” said Matthews.
New Hope SA house supervisor Gregory Williams added that September being the month of recovery has been specially put in place to make communities aware of the change which is possible in a community when people decide to step into recovery.
“Recovery month has been recognised throughout our country in different forums eg. walks with placards in the centre of the city, different shares of strength and hope by addicts and alcoholics, also a gathering for people from different treatment centres and community groups who are against drug and alcohol abuse,” said Williams.
Today New Hope SA will take part, along with other recovery centres, in the annual Recovery Walk which will take place at the Maynardville Park in Wynberg.
“We are really looking forward to, as the New Hope SA community is, to team up with Freeway Ministries, Living Hope and The Jubilee Church, to do a clean up of streets in the community of Steenberg. We will go as a unified group to clean the area and plant trees. We will offer them also a decent meal on the day and interact with the community in a very friendly manner by sharing with them our stories of strength and hope,” said Williams.