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Light Up the Night event in Rhinelander highlights substance abuse treatment resources

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WAOW Television
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September is National Recover Month, and an area event is hoping to shed light on a subject on that is often kept in the dark.

The Light Up the Night for Recovery at Hodag Park places emphasis on education and growth, and celebrated recovery for those struggling.

Coty Skinner said recovery is the reason he's standing here today.

"It means a lot to me that you know there's a new life out there, we don't ever have to use again." said Skinner.

After struggling with addiction for years, and now in recovery, he's sharing his story at Light Up the Night, hoping to increase awareness.

"The stigma is hard, and it's hard to ask for help and it's hard to accept help really, I know that was my hardest part was accepting help." said Skinner.

This is the fourth year since the first Light Up the Night event. Event organizers hoped providing a large gathering of recovery resources would be important to provide to the community.

"We live in a rural community, and when you think about you know addressing the substance use and mental health concerns in a rural community, it really takes everybody, all of the resources, everybody working together in collaboration to make an impact." said Jenny Chiamulera, Community Health Specialist for Oneida County Health Department.

Event founders said they just wanted to help.

"I just wanted resources available and out there so everyone could know and see what's available." said Josh Chiamulera, Captain with Rhinelander Police and founder of the event, "There's probably somebody in every family that knows somebody or is somehow affected by mental health or aoda type situations and we just want people to know that they aren't alone."

Those in recovery, like Skinner, believe this event is critical.

"This event means everything to me because recovery is my life now, and if I didn't have recovery I wouldn't be here." said Skinner.

For those out there struggling, he had one message:

"Do not quit before the miracle happens, that's the best thing I can say."

Organizers said even a simple conversation or a drop of knowledge could cause someone to seek help or resources, and that they're happy to provide a place to turn on the light in the night.

Anyone looking for resources should call the United Way's 2-1-1 lifeline to find help in their area.

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