The Union Recorder

September 26, 2013

Local resident touts recovery success

Felicia Cummings
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — Rick Dews, a peer support specialist at River Edge, is a local resident who will be among those who can attest to the success of treatment.  

“I was in and out of trouble from about the age 16 to 25 years old, but it all started falling apart around 2003,” said Dews. 

While finding himself going in and out of jail for drug-related circumstances, Dews also lost his father’s business and his marriage began to crumble. It wasn’t until he was sentenced to 15 months in jail when everything began to come to a screeching halt in his life. 

“When I finally got out they gave me drug court, and at first I was holding a grudge about it,” said Dews. “I was thinking that it was going to be a waste of time.” 

For 24 years, recovery centers and programs across the nation have sponsored activities and events in September in observance of National Recovery Month. The purpose is to educate Americans about addiction treatment and mental health services. Recovery Month helps spreads the message that behavioral health is essential to overall health and that prevention works, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).   

In recognition of Recovery Month, River Edge Behavioral Health Center will conclude its observance with a Family and Friends Rally for Recovery slated for 4 to 7 p.m. Friday. It will be held at River Edge Baldwin, located on Blandy Way in the office park lawn. The event is free and open to the public. 

The theme for this year’s National Recovery Month is “Prevention Works, Treatment is Effective and people Recover.” 

“At River Edge, our guiding principle is treatment is effective and recovery is to be expected,” said Shannon Terrell Harvey via press release. 

Harvey is River Edge’s chief executive officer. 

Across the country during National Recovery Month, people who have undergone recovery will celebrate their successes and share their stories with others in an effort to educate the public about treatment. 

Dews is no stranger to recovery. He had been around it ever since he was around 6 or 7 years old.

“My father was an addict, so I had seen him go in and out of treatment and recovery programs. I was just hoping this was going to be something that actually worked for me,” he said. 

Much to his surprise, the program completely turned his life around. Dews is one of the first graduates of the Adult Treatment Court Collaborative (ATCC) program, a single dad raising two kids on his own, working two jobs, and attending Middle Georgia State College. He is 10 classes away from having his bachelor’s degree in accounting.

“At the time, I couldn’t see the good that the recovery program was going to cause in my life, but now, looking back, I am amazed at where I used to be in life and where I am now,” he said. 

Dews works hard to give back to all the individuals who took the time to help him. A peer support specialist at River Edge, he hopes to help others who have been in similar situations as his own. 

The Family and Friends Rally for Recovery will feature a recovery walk, beginning a 4 p.m., followed by testimonies about hope and recovery. Dews will be one of the guest speakers, sharing his story with attendees. The event will also feature games for children, a free cookout, T-shirts giveaways and face painting as well as a health resource fair and free health screenings. 

The Family and Friends Rally for Recovery is presented by Frontline Men’s Ministry, Milledgeville CARES, Oconee Center, Oconee Prevention Resource Council, Oconee Regional Medical Center and the Oconee Suicide Prevention Coalition. It is sponsored by the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse.

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