Saturday, April 29, 2017

Turning Point 10th Annual Reality Gala

The joy of Turning Point Recovery Society is it’s success with the clients and the community.  I have friends in health care who graduated from Turning Point Recovery.  More than a decade later they sing the praises of their experience with Turning Point. “I needed a place where I was safe, where people didn’t use,  where people helped me stay in recovery.”  Too many recovery houses lack standards.   Jim Ross, one of a  couple of addicts serious about recovery began this phenomena that continues till today with Brenda Plant as the executive director.  

The Turning Point Gala has been a major event for 10 years now.   Celebrity Speakers have included  Martin Sheen, Katey Sagal, Mathew Perry, Ashley Judd,  John Laroquette. Jim Belushi, David Cosby, Rob Lowe.  This year’s speaker was David Feherty, the famously entertaining golfer and golf show host.

It’s a place where recovery meets the community and the now successful, their families and those friends of friends who support recovery give back as others give forward.  The Four Season’s Hotel is all uptown and glitz with excellent service and great food. I loved tonight’s halibut.

This year with all the epidemic of  tragic fentanyl  deaths in the DTES, the Turning Point Reality Gala  really seemed  a warm place after a very chill winter. Turning Point always has been about hope. 

Every year the dignitaries are there. So often the mentally ill and especially the addict and alcoholics don’t feel heard. They are not alone. The RCMP in red serge from Richmond , the politiicians,  from province and city, the corporations and corporate leaders all gather in support of recovery. There is a way out.   What started as a few recovering addicts wanting to live together in the safety of mutual support has expanded to several large homes where individuals begin their journey home.  Now Turning Point even has businesses where those in recovery can work to help the reintegration with greater society. .  

As the first residential recovery service provider to be accredited by BC Turning Point is licensed by the province and contracted by Vancouver Coastal Health with its high standards. .  Their good management and good name have attracted, over the years,  sponsorship from the community’s finest corporations including Westjet, Global TV, Ledcor, Mayfair, Van mar, Rock 101, Save On Foods,    and so many more.  With the support of government as well they have been able to open recovery houses in Vancouver, Richmond, North Vancouver and now Squamish. There are always the individuals too. 

 Randene Neil is the consumate MC looking younger every year.  She has the most engaging smile and laughter   Howard Bland the auctioneer is a one man comedy routine auctioning off the finest weekend retreats with spa and fine restaurants and flights and rock concerts then throwing in a a Motel 6 night to sweeten the deal. And yes, we all love those Motel 6 extra’s and the nights at Red Rock Casino and thousands more money raised for a good cause,  all the while laughter is the norm. 

This nights speaker,  David Feherty, famous golfer, sports commentator and stand up comic shared personal stories of the highs and lows of his life.  I will forever be affflicted  by his image of how to count sheep.  His joke about his mother asked by his  father, who’d stayed too long at the pub, if she’d kept his supper warm, replied, yes,   in the dog’s stomach.  There was much appreciation for Mr. Feherty  from the golfers. A night of wild golf stories sparked with Tiger Woods tales and inside stories of Jack Nicklaus was a sportsman’s dream come true. I appreciated hearing how at the nadir of his drinking when he was popping pills and not really wanting to live that others had to tell him he was sick .  Addiction is the disease that tells you you don’t have it. His good friends took him to 12 steps meetings and helped him return from the dead.  A decade of life and relapse certainly emphasized the nature of the disease . He said, it ‘waits like a monster under the bed’ .  He described his life in recovery  as joyful even, or especially because of  his wife who he said "came from Alabama where they think Deliverance is a love story.”   The contrast, the world of alcohol and pills, was pure misery.  He was very thankful for recovery.  I can’t do justice to his Irish humor that had everyone on the verge  of apoplexy.  Truly a night to remember.

I was thankful to be with my friends Laura, Anita and Ganesh. Anita and Laura talked about grandchildren. Ganesh and I reminisced about Scotty and Malcolm our friends who are now attending the great big meeting in the sky. Kumar, known for his adventurous life,  actually got Ganesh sharing of his para sailing experiences in Hawaii. At the silent auction I won tickets to Bard on the Beach.  The silent auction at Turning Point has the very best events, restaurants, art, jewelry and shows. After all the applause and laughter the evening came to a close.  We hugged and made our way out.  I was delighted to see Michelle of Avalon Women’s centre as we made our way out of the Four Seasons.  

Another great year for Turning Point and another great gala. 

 

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