Local man, recovery support group organize sober New Years show
— On New Years Eve, while millions of adults across the United States inebriate themselves in good cheer, Gracie’s Cafe will offer a clean alternative.
It’ll host “Breaking the Chains,” a firstyear concert and open mic designed for those either in recovery or looking for help getting there.
The sober evening is the brainchild of Nate Hodge, a 29-year-old Elkton resident with almost 15 months of clean time himself. Organizing an event like this has been something of a dream since he first entered recovery, he said, but he waited, in part, to accrue more time living without drugs.
“People need to know that this [expletive] is possible, that you can do it,” Hodge said.
In October, he took his idea to a Voices of Hope for Cecil County meeting and received warm feedback. The group agreed to help him make it happen, according to interim Director Rose Hollenbaugh.
Tickets will cost $10 per person, with food and drinks (namely coffee) for sale inside, and all proceeds will go to a county family in need this holiday season. Voices of Hope
will help identify the beneficiary, and Hodge and Hollenbaugh both encouraged those who knew of eligible recipients to contact the organization, preferably by sending a message on Facebook (facebook.com/VoicesofHopeforCecilCounty/) or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Doors for “Breaking the Chains” will open at 8 p.m. Until around 10 p.m., attendees will be welcome to an open mic and dance session. After that, the scheduled acts will take the stage.
At the moment, that list is made up of three acts — singer-songwriter John Baldwin, rapper Ricky West and Hodge (who will perform under his rap name Gunsmoke). Hodge is open to billing two more acts, recovery-related or not, original material or not.
After the ball drops in Times Square, a speaker (as yet undecided, Hodge said) will close out the night.
But the event is about more than just having a good time while staying sober. There will also be representatives from the county health department and local recovery houses, Hodge said.
“Say you have a family member that is in active addiction and you’re trying to get them help — there’s gonna be people there that they can talk to,” he said. “If anyone wants information on how to get help, that will be there.”
Hodge, a lifelong county resident, explained that part of his addiction’s beginning had to do with a lack of alternate activities. He said he doesn’t mean to make an excuse, but he remembers getting high as a younger man just to do something. Ideally, he’d like for this sober concert series to recur throughout the year, in order to further develop a local counter-addiction culture. If this event goes well and he continues organizing more, Voices of Hope might be willing to continue the partnership. “I don’t see why not,” Hollenbaugh said. Hodge also wants addicts to know they’re not alone, and that their chances of recovery improve considerably with others in their corner.
“[Recovery] is possible, but you can’t do it by yourself. You need help,” Hodge said. “Anybody that tries to do it by themselves is just setting themselves up for failure.”
With help from the recovery support group Voices of Hope, Elkton resident Nate Hodge is organizing a sober New Years Eve party at Gracie’s Cafe.