Friday, May 13, 2016

Turning Point Recovery Society Gala 2016

The 9th Annual Turning Point Gala this year was a great success.  I love the elegance of the Four Season Hotel.  It’s a perfect backdrop for the glamour the lovely ladies in the latest fashion in gowns, dresses and accessories,  bring to this night of nights.   Many of the men mostly in black and grey suits were sporting wide ties again.  Dressed in a brightly flowered spring frock, the delightful Radene Neill was the very best MC. Later she interviewed David Crosby with the charm and wit that makes her warm presence and beauty so appreciated in this city.
The evening opened with a short film of founder Jim Ross talking of the 1982  humble beginnings of Turning Point. From one person saved in a room Turning Point Recovery has grown to several homes throughout the city with the finest reputation for safety recovery and community relationship.  It was good to see all the dignitaries, the Honorable Terry Lake there again this year, and the red serge of the RCMP.
David Crosby, before coming to the gala had sat in a Turning Point Recovery House meeting with those fresh from the downtown streets and addiction sharing his experience, strength and hope.
Brenda Plant, Executive Director welcomed us all there, sharing anecdotes of her meeting Nash then awe at meeting David. She spoke of his humility and compassion while knowing his genius.  Howard Blank was hilarious as the auctioneer who helped to raise a hundred thousand for Turning Point.  Special  thanks are due the generosity of Westjet, Bear Camp at Chilko Lake, Red Rock Casino, Palladino Jewelries, the Okanagan wineries, 54-40, Fairmount and Four Seasons Hotel. Those bidding were  competitive  for the best of causes.
David Crosby shared that his recovery from drugs and alcohol, in a Texas State prison, was the hardest thing he’d done in his life.  His loving partner was his greatest gift of recovery.  He’d sailed oceans, scuba dived for the sheer joy and beauty of the sea, ridden motorcycles despite the dangers and contributed the world over with the unforgettable music of the Byrds, Crosby Still Nash and Young, and now his songs, solo, or with his son and CPR.  He said that his greatest regret was the people he’d hurt and the time he’d lost.  His creativity was harmed by his drug and alcohol abuse.  Sitting in that Texas jail he found that the poetry he’d thought he’d lost through his addiction came back in his recovery.  Having  just completed a new acoustic album, he described the joy he finds with music.  His preference these days is for the intimacy of audiences he can see compared to the nights playing to  stadiums with tens of thousands.
Yes he spoke of Woodstock but the special significance of Turning Point Galas is that those invited are there to speak about the personal not the iconic.  He shared his deepest sorrow as one day he wrote the names of those who he’d known as dearest friends but were killed by drug addiction.  It went on for two yellow foolscap sheets single spaced. " They were my friends,” He said.   “Think of what music Janis would be making today.  Think of what Jimmy’s guitar playing would be like today.”  "When someone says that alcohol or drugs is needed for creativity,  I say no….  Alcohol and drugs are a scourge that destroys creativity."  At 74, two heart attacks and a liver transplant later he is grateful for his continued creativity  so thankful for the  life that recovery has given him.
When he ended speaking, when Radene had asked her last question, when the audience had put their last question to him. When he spoke of anxiety he had for America today, what remained for me was that wonderful line he shared, as memorable as countless others his gift has given us for so many decades.  Paraphrased,  ‘war brings us down, music lifts us up. I’m so thankful to have had a life of making music. Thanks to recovery I'm still  making music."
He was a beautiful man.  As a teen I learned  guitar to play and sing his songs. It was the late sixties and early 70’s  when his music harmonized with an era.  Tonight his humour,  humility, depth and sincerity enthralled us still.
We all stood to applaud, thankful to have been apart of something rare and beautiful and intimate.
I felt truly blessed.
Thank you, David Crosby.  Thank you Turning Point Recovery Society.

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