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Commission marks recovery month
Community urged to attend Recovery Out Loud Friday
amy boxberger recovery month
Amy Boxberger, Central Kansas Community Corrections director, discusses substance abuse recovery before the Barton County Commission Wednesday morning as the commission prepared to vote on a proclamation marking September as National Recovery Month. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

Barton County Commission meeting at a glance

Here is a quick look at what the Barton County Commission did Wednesday morning:

• Tabled a Resolution concerning the involvement of sitting Barton County Commissioners on area boards and committees.

On Sept. 7, and again on Sept. 14, this item was tabled. Commissioner Kirby Krier proposed guidelines for this sort of involvement, as well as other possible conflicts of intrest. 

• Presented the second-quarter Employee Recognition Award to Pam Christendon, a custodian in facilities management, operations department.

The Employee Relations Committee recommends outstanding individuals for the Employees Recognition Award. Christendon was nominated, in part, for her friendly demeanor, attitude and work ethic, said Diana Watson, county administrative assistant and ERC member. 

• Approved a proclamation marking September as National Recovery Month.

• Named Commissioner Barb Esfeld as the Kansas Association Of Counties voting delegate, and commissioners Shawn Hutchinson and Kirby Krier as first and second alternates respectively.

The KAC will hold its annual conference from Oct. 17–19, in Overland Park. 

• Heard a report from Sheriff Brian Bellendir on the results from the Great Bend Police Department/Barton County Sheriff’s Office Forfeiture and Surplus Sale last Thursday.

Noting the impact of substance abuse and the struggle for those recovering, the Barton County Commission Wednesday morning approved a proclamation marking September as National Recovery Month.

The proclamation details the impact of recovery through better management of health, home, purpose and community, said Amy Boxberger, Central Kansas Community Corrections director and Rise Up Central Kansas community member.  

“The commission calls community members to observe this month with compelling programs and events,” the resolution reads. That will include Recovery Out Loud - Every Voice Matters, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Jack Kilby Square. 

“Through the growth and the expansion of Rise Up Central Kansas, as well as our community support systems such as NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness) and Oxford houses, our community has seen the adaptive work help in recovery, and this change brings hope for those that are suffering, as well as the relatives who care about them,” Boxberger said. “It brings families together to provide stability.”

This also helps those recovering gain employment, therefore increasing the tax base, she said.

“This is our future, investing in our people,” she said. “Then that brings change and provides hope that change can happen.”

“Addiction is a brain disease,” said care provider and Rise Up Central Kansas member Charity Muth. “It is progressive, it is chronic and, without treatment, it is most certainly fatal.

“Recovery is the process by which one person tries to remove a lifetime of maladaptive behaviors, a lifetime of coping skills, chemical coping skills, that have sustained them through life thus far,” Muth said. “It is the equivalent of pushing a boulder up a hill.”

Although most understand this, many look at addicts and recovering addicts through personal biases. 

“I would challenge every person to make a personal determination what side of the rock that you want to be on,” she said. “If you want to be on the side of the rock that keeps pushing it back down the hill, or if you want to be on the side of the rock helping the person who is afflicted push it over the hill.”

Referring to how one winds up on the path toward addiction, “I think that’s just how you grow up and the lifestyles and the people that you choose to be around,” said Morgan, a recovering addict. She said she hung out with the wrong crowd, even through college, and struggled to remove herself from that group.

“If you’re around better people who want a better for life, then you’re going to do better. You’re going to want better for your life,” Morgan said. “If you’re around people who have goals, that want to achieve bigger things, you’re going to you’re going to have the outlook that ‘I want to have goals.’”

“I lost a sister who was in active addiction a few years ago,” said District 2 Commissioner Barb Esfeld. The sister died of cancer, but through that ordeal, the family learned she had been heavily involved with methamphetamine use.

“So I want to be part of pushing that ball up hill in this community,” she said. “I’m really proud of all of you and, and I’m proud of our recovery community and to be a part of it.”

The proclamation

Mental health and substance use disorders affect all communities nationwide, said Morgan while presenting the proclamation. “With commitment and support, those impacted can embark on a journey of improved health and overall wellness.”

The focus of Recovery Month is to celebrate the people that make the journey of recovery possible by embracing the belief that “Recovery is For Everyone: Every Person, Every Family, Every Community,” Morgan read.

The recognition of Recovery Month helps spread the message that people can and do recover every day, she said. Through Recovery Month initiatives, people become more aware and are better able to recognize the signs of mental health and substance use disorders. “Activities are geared toward encouraging people in need of recovery services to seek help.”

Managing the effects of these conditions helps individuals achieve healthy lifestyles, both physically and emotionally,” she said.

“The Recovery Month observance continues to work to improve the lives of those affected by mental health and substance use disorders by raising awareness and educating communities about the effective services that are available,” Morgan read.