On Sunday, August 25th, I volunteered once again to shoot the Families of Addicts (“FOA”) Rally for Recovery event on Courthouse Square in Dayton, Ohio. This was the second year that I’ve shot this event and I’ve grown to really enjoy it.
From a photography standpoint, its everything an event or street photographer could wish for – energetic people, dancing, colorful displays, lots of activities, balloons, etc. That’s all true - but for me, more than that, it’s a chance to help a great cause and donate my skillset as a photographer.
FOA was founded by Lori Erion, and rather than try to explain who they are in my own words, here’s their info straight from their website:
“FOA is a grass-roots recovery support initiative founded in Dayton, Ohio working to reduce the stigma of addiction, ensure availability of adequate treatment/recovery support services and to influence public opinion and policy regarding the value of recovery. This vision has people from all over the U.S. asking if FOA is available in their town.
WE hold weekly support meetings where families and individuals affected by addiction can come for support, friendship and education. The sharing of our experiences, strength and hope offer a pathway to peace.
FOA welcomes those seeking recovery and those in long-term recovery to attend, as they can help us and we can help them, no matter where they are in the journey. All are welcome to attend with an attitude of willingness, open-mindedness and honesty.
If addiction has found its way into your life, please consider joining us at our weekly meeting for support, friendship and education.”
So, before I go much further, I want to make a confession. I was raised Catholic, in the Midwest, during the 70’s and 80’s. I’m 49 years old. I was taught that people who were addicted to drugs/alchohol made poor decisions or had bad judgement. That it was their fault they were in the bad place that they were in. I believed that as a young adult. I think that painting people who had such problems as “bad people” made it easier for parents and elders to convince kids to stay away from drugs. This isn’t unlike the way they treated sex.
I don’t believe that today.
I’m not saying that people aren’t responsible for their own actions. I just don’t think it’s that simple to explain away and pigeon-hole people.
Many people today, whether they admit it or not, are addicted to something: TV. Food. Sex. Internet. Gossip. Phones. Social media. Likes.
The average American spends over 4 hours a day on their phone. Ever watch a couple at dinner that don’t talk each other because they are both buried in their phones feasting on the dopamine that they get from likes on their posts and images? That’s addiction. Take that phone away from them for an extended time and they will feel lost, and crave the feeling they used to get from it. Now replace that phone with a highly addictive drug, like opioids. Its easy to see how people get hooked and need help.
A co-worker the other day told me a story about a man she knew who was a partner in a law firm. He had a back injury and was prescribed opioids for the pain. He became an addict. A year later he had lost his partnership, his job, his wife, his kids, and his home. He was living on the streets. He finally got help but had lost everything and had to start his life over again.
I think many people are an unfortunate incident away from having their lives changed forever. Its because of that I am thankful for organizations like FOA.
If you live in the greater Dayton area, and know a loved one or friend with a drug or alcohol addiction, please reach out to the FOA at http://www.foafamilies.org/.
Oh - I forgot to mention - while at the Rally, the event emcee Scotty Mays proposed to his girlfriend of three years Tara Moreno, in front of a few thousand of their closest friends! No pressure, right!? Spoiler Alert - she said yes! Congrats to Scotty and Tara!!
Thanks for reading,