Lo­cal man, re­cov­ery sup­port group or­ga­nize sober New Years show

Cecil Whig - - ACCENT - By JOE ANTOSHAK

jan­toshak@ches­pub.com

— 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

ELKTON

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 voic­e­sofhope414@gmail.com.

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.”

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JOE ANTOSHAK

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.

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