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Getting over addiction

Addiction to drugs and alcohol is a devastating problem in the U.S., and overcoming it is no easy task.

Now, Central New Yorkers in recovery have another resource to rely on.

Friends of Recovery is an organization founded to provide an outlet and networking opportunities to those recovering from addiction. Formed in 2007, the local affiliate of the national organization states as its mission to "provide social, recreational and educational activities to support people in recovery as well as their families and friends."

"There are people in recovery in all walks of life," said Kimberly Sacco, executive director of the Syracuse-Onondaga Drug and Alcohol Abuse Commission, one of the partners in Friends of Recovery. "We want to provide as many resources as we can in the community."

Friends of Recovery is the result of a collaboration between numerous community organizations, including the Syracuse-Onondaga Drug and Alcohol Abuse Commission, the Prevention Network, Crouse Hospital, Syracuse Teen Challenge, Tully Hill Chemical Dependency Treatment Center, Rescue Mission, Altamont Treatment and the Center for Community Alternatives.

"It's really a community collaboration," Sacco said. "A lot of different groups work together to make it happen."

The group, which is free, is open to everyone, whether they are recovering from addiction, have a family member or friend in recovery or just want to help out with events, mailings and other activities.

"It's open to anybody who wants to be a part of that support system," Sacco said, "and anybody who feels like they need support."

Sacco said no particular recovery program is advocated by Friends of Recovery.

"Nothing is pushed," she said. "We recognize faith-based programs, 12-step programs -- we're sort of non-denominational. Anything that works for people."

The local organization was founded last September, Sacco said.

"In recognition of National Recovery Month, OASAS [New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services] sponsored a luncheon at LeMoyne Manor in Liverpool," she said. "The state wanted to expand their programs. Previously, the focus had been on treatment, then on prevention. The state wanted to focus on recovery and complete that triad."

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