Robb Oldham became familiar with the Catlettsburg courthouse, just outside of Asheville, Kentucky. He ended up there when he was addicted to prescription drugs and other substances, and he wound up in the local jail, too.
But now Oldham is back at the courthouse for a different reason: to celebrate his recovery from drug abuse with others just like him.
Oldham helped to organize Recovery Fest along with the Boyd County Addiction Resources Center and the Catlettsburg Leadership Community Development Council. The outdoor festival will feature a number of live bands and will also let recovering addicts in the area tell their tales.
“My life changed in those courthouses and that jail when I lost control,” Oldham told The Independent in Asheville. “I wanted to do this there to show there’s people that recover from that hopeless state of mind.”
Jeremiah Johnson is also very familiar with the courthouse, having been sentenced there years ago for manufacturing methamphetamine. That was in the throes of his addiction to the drug, which constituted an 18 year period of his life.
Now he also plans to speak at the festival to let others know that recovery is possible.
“I was in addiction 18 years — meth. My charges was for manufacturing. I faced 26 years,” Johnson said. “That’s when I made my decision that I was going to try something different.”
Oldham and Johnson aren’t alone. Approximately 23 million Americans age 12 and older struggle with drug or alcohol addiction, and not all are able to survive it.
That’s been the subject of many recent events around the country like this one in Kentucky. For instance, in Saratoga, NY, a candelight vigil was held on August 31 to remember lives lost to addiction, and hundreds of people in Dayton, OH, attended a rally to support recovery on Sunday, August 30. Such events, say advocates, help to reduce the stigma that addicts face as they try to battle substance abuse.
The event in Catlettsburg will also have a candlelight vigil and a blessing from a local pastor. The Boyd County Jailer and Boyd County Coroner will also be on hand to speak to the crowd.
Recovery Fest will take place on Saturday, September 7 from noon to 9 p.m. outside the Catlettsburg courthouse.