‘Lights of Hope’ aims to shed light on dark­ness of ad­dic­tion

Maryland Independent - - News - By JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU jan­fen­son-comeau@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @JamieACIndyNews

The pain of watch­ing a loved one strug­gle with ad­dic­tion can be a dif­fi­cult bur­den to shoul­der alone. That’s why one woman is work­ing to change that for Charles County res­i­dents.

Be­gin­ning at 6 p.m. on Sept. 10, New Life Church in La Plata, lo­cated at 9690 Shep­herd’s Creek Place, will be host­ing Lights of Hope 2016. The event will fea­ture guest speak­ers, mu­sic and sup­port or­ga­ni­za­tions. There will also be a can­dle light­ing in honor of ev­ery­one who has strug­gled with ad­dic­tion, said or­ga­nizer Tracey Stin­nett.

Stin­nett said par­tic­i­pants will also have the op­por­tu­nity to share their own sto­ries.

“We just want to show that there are many peo­ple deal­ing with this, and that it touches ev­ery­one, peo­ple of ev­ery class and ev­ery walk of life,” Stin­nett said. “I want peo­ple to feel that com­fort of know­ing that other peo­ple have been there and know what they are go­ing through.”

The lo­cal event is part of a na­tion­wide vigil held by The Ad­dict’s Mom, a na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tion.

The Ad­dict’s Mom is a na­tion­wide sup­port group founded by Bar­bara Theo­dosiou, who had two chil­dren fall prey to ad­dic­tion, ac­cord­ing to the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s web­site.

The aim of The Ad­dict’s Mom is to give fam­ily mem­bers a safe place to share their ex­pe­ri­ences and fight the stigma and shame that comes with hav­ing a loved one strug­gling with ad­dic­tion, ac­cord­ing to its web­site.

“It shocks me. It crushes me. It steals my soul. There are no breaks, no hol­i­days, there is no so­lace here. All I can do now is tell his story to the world in the hopes that I am able to make the small­est change in a bro­ken sys­tem that houses the men­tally ill in dif­fer­ent col­ored can­dles for var­i­ous sit­u­a­tions — white can­dles for loved ones in re­cov­ery, red can­dles for loved ones in ac­tive ad­dic­tion, grey can­dles for loved ones in­car­cer­ated due to ad­dic­tion and black can­dles for loved ones who have died.

Or­ga­ni­za­tions deal­ing with ad­dic­tion will also be on-hand, Stin­nett said.

“We’re hop­ing that if some­body comes there, that they can leave with some­thing that they can carry out and will hope­fully im­prove their sit­u­a­tion,” Stin­nett said.

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