Addiction awareness, support offered at candlelight vigil

ST. GEORGE – Approximately 200 people gathered at Pioneer Park Wednesday night for a candlelight vigil to remember friends and loved ones lost to the disease of addiction, as well as to celebrate the liberation of addiction recovery and to show support for those who fight daily to maintain it.

A candlelight vigil was held at Pioneer Park to remember those lost to the disease of addiction, while also supporting addiction recovery and awareness, St. George, Utah, April 20, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
A candlelight vigil was held at Pioneer Park to remember those lost to the disease of addiction, while also supporting addiction recovery and awareness, St. George, Utah, April 20, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Organized by the Adult Substance Use Disorder Alumni of the Southwest Behavioral Health Center, the candlelight vigil is the second of its kind held by the group.

“We’re just here to remember those we’ve lost from addiction and to support recovery, (and) show people that there is hope,” said David Sorensen, the chair of Southwest Behavioral Health Center’s drug court mentor program.

The message of hope was brought to those dealing with addiction by the attendance of other people at the event who are in long-term recovery and leading productive lives.

One of those people is Braden “B Sully” Sullivan, a graduate of the drug court program and local rapper and hip hop artist. He was invited to perform at the event where he shared some of his music, including songs centered on recovery.

Sullivan said he was there was to help show others that it’s possible to be in recovery and have fun.

Braden “B Sully” Sullivan performs at the 2nd annual candlelight vigil supporting addition recovery and awareness, St. George, Utah, April 20, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
Braden “B Sully” Sullivan performs at the second annual candlelight vigil supporting addition recovery and awareness, St. George, Utah, April 20, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

“When you’re in addiction and when you’re an alcoholic, you kind of get sober and think life is gonna suck now and be boring,” Sullivan said. “I like to show people that’s not the case, because I felt that way when I first got sober.”

Sullivan spent seven years in addiction and found himself on and off probation throughout that time. The situation was getting so bad, he said, that he was on the road to overdosing and committing suicide. Instead, he was arrested.

“God gave me a second chance, and I got accepted into drug court,” he said.

Now over three years sober, Sullivan shares his music and his story.

“I like to share my story now,” he said. “Before, I was ashamed of it.”

Sullivan, along with fellow hip hop artist Brian Coleman, opened the event while the sun slowly sank below the horizon. Once they concluded, the crowd made its way up a path marked by candles leading to a nearby amphitheater in the rocks.

A candlelight vigil was held at Pioneer Park to remember those lost to the disease of addiction, while also supporting addiction recovery and awareness, St. George, Utah, April 20, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
A candlelight vigil was held at Pioneer Park to remember those lost to the disease of addiction, while also supporting addiction recovery and awareness, St. George, Utah, April 20, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Candles were held by many in the group as they sat around a fire and listened to speakers share how they could help those with addiction and get help if they were addicts themselves. The topic of suicide was also addressed, including ways to recognize the possible signs of someone contemplating it.

“(Addiction) is such a big part of everybody’s life,” Sahara Buehner, a drug court mentor, said. “It’s not just the addict. It’s their family, it’s their kids, it’s their friends – it’s everybody.

“It brings so much joy to my heart to know there are people fighting and winning (against) addiction and they’re here tonight,” Buehner added. “I’m very grateful to be a part of that.”

For those dealing with addiction, the Southwest Behavioral Health Center offers substance abuse treatment for both youth and adults.

The Southwest Behavioral Health Center is located 474 W. 200 North, St. George, and can be reached at 435-634-5600.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

 

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!

3 Comments

  • youcandoit April 21, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    I was there at the event with my son who is an addict in treatment, this was a great event very positive, the only thing I wished if they let us know if it was ok to dance because I didn’t want to get a ticket or arrested because there was 2 st George police officers there. I hope they do more events maybe a potluck Dutch oven or something, just let us know if we can dance it’s great exercise

    • RealMcCoy April 22, 2016 at 12:49 pm

      You saw the 2 cops, but you DIDN’T see the 10 SWAT team members hiding in the shadows, in full riot gear, ready to quell a potential dance outbreak.
      You know, for safety reasons and all…

      • .... April 28, 2016 at 8:35 am

        Yawwwwn. same old garbage different day eh ?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.