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Annual Recovery Walk brings together Aroostook recovery community

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Despite cool and damp weather, allies in Aroostook County’s recovery movement came together for the fourth annual celebration of addiction recovery.

Around 200 people gathered at Mantle Lake Park in Presque Isle on Saturday, May 18, for Aroostook County’s Recovery Walk. The event featured a 1.5-mile walk around the park and neighborhood, stories about overcoming addiction and family-friendly activities.

It was the fourth spring that addiction and mental health counseling center Life By Design has hosted the event.

“The goal is to increase public awareness and celebrate recovery in Aroostook County,” said Kelley Johnson, outpatient substance abuse counselor with Life By Design.  

“Every year it’s growing, and it’s exciting to see the momentum,” Johnston said of Aroostook County’s recovery community. Events like the Recovery Walk and a similar event held in September help “perpetuate increased visibility of recovery here in Aroostook County.”

While northern Maine’s substance abuse problems may be less visible than in major urban areas, Johnston said the tide is turning in terms of community conversations about addressing addiction problems and supporting those in recovery. Northern Maine Community College’s 2019 commencement speaker was graduating student Erik Lamoreau, who recounted his story of falling into addiction and finding his way out of it.

“There’s less stigma and people are becoming more open to participate in community events,” Johnston said. “We have a strong community of people in recovery here in Aroostook County. It really helps to bring people together and to celebrate the fact that recovery is possible, and that there’s a recovery community in Aroostook County.”

The event Saturday also invited people to participate in Recovery Rocks, where individual rocks are painted with messages of inspiration and left in public spaces. People can get involved and follow the journey of the rocks online through the Recovery Rocks Aroostook County Facebook page, Johnston said.

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