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Recovery is beautiful exults addicts at Statehouse rally

(September 29, 2017) — Wayne Ford stepped to the podium on the Statehouse steps wearing a gold mask.

Underneath were two more masks: a white hockey goalie mask and the mask of an older man.

“On my pathway to recovery I’ve had to recognize all the different masks that I wore to hide this beautiful soul,” Ford said.

Ford, who is in long-term recovery, spoke Friday morning as part of Rally for Recovery on the west lawn of the Statehouse. The rally was sponsored by Ohio Citizen Advocates for Addiction Recovery in partnership with the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center-Talbot Hall.

“There are no more masks,” Ford said, peeling off the disguises.

Susan Laschinger’s 22-year-old son has struggled with the disease of addiction for 10 years.

“I believed his addiction was a choice and if I could just love him better, he could just stop,” Laschinger said. “When that didn’t work … I tried to control it.”

It was when she hit rock-bottom that she realized she had also become sick.

“I was addicted to my addict,” she said. “Everything I did and said revolved around him and his addiction.”

When she originally wrote her speech, she was going to share that her son had been clean for 10 months, but then she learned that was no longer true.

“I found out he had relapsed so I changed it, and today I can tell you my son is now choosing treatment,” Laschinger said.

In between the various speakers, the Recovery Ally Award was presented to Gov. John Kasich. Tracy Plouck, director of Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, accepted it on his behalf.

“There is rarely a conversation that goes by i have with him where he is not talking about a personal interaction he’s had with an Ohioan whose living with an addiction, in recovery from addiction, with a mental illness,” Plouck said.

Mindy Vance, who is in long-term recovery from a mental health and substance use disorder, also shared her story Friday.

“I identify as a person in long-term recovery because I am not identified by a drug or by the disease of addiction,” Vance said.

Her identify, however, does not mean she forgets where she came from.

“There are many pathways to recovery, and all of them are beautiful,” Vance said. “There are as many pathways to recovery as there are people in recovery.

“Recovery is beautiful and recovery rocks.”