Sunrise walk spotlights prevalence of addiction
Sioux Falls addiction nonprofit Face it Together will host its annual March Into the Light event on Saturday, Sept. 21 to acknowledge National Recovery Month. The event takes place at Good Earth State Park near Sioux Falls, and features stories from people in recovery, a fundraiser 5K run and a sunrise walk.
Joe Tlustos works as a peer mentor for Face It Together, which pairs people seeking treatment with coaches who have experienced addiction. He said the event honors the community of people in long-term recovery.
“[Addiction] is a very individual experience, but it’s amazing how much of it is shared,” Tlustos said. “That’s what we like to celebrate, not only the somber times but also the good times.”
According to Tlustos, addiction is often connected to deeper mental health issues. Face It coaches don’t operate as replacements for professional and counseling help, he said, but the close relationship they build can help uncover the root causes of addiction.
“They come to see us with the substance issue, and the substance is being used as a treatment of sorts for other things that are going on," Tlustos said. "A lot of the time that we spend coaching is, number one, making a connection with somebody, then taking a look at that stuff underneath.”
Nathan Kasselder joined Face It Together after completing inpatient treatment for alcohol and drug abuse. He said March Into the Light draws attention to the prevalence of addiction, and helps destigmatize seeking treatment.
“These events highlight that you’re not alone, it’s a place where people can go where there’s no judgement,” Kasselder said. “We need to tell people there’s a way out, there’s a different way to live, and you don’t have to be ashamed of it, you don’t have to hide it, you don’t have to be in the dark.”
Avera Health is sponsoring this year's March Into the Light, which begins with a sunrise walk at 7 a.m. The event is free and open to the public.