Malden Overcoming Addiction (MOA) held their second Rocks Addiction fundraiser concert at the Irish American in Malden on November 14th. The event, hosted by former Malden High School principal and MOA board member Dana Brown, included many guest speakers and a performance from Bon Jovi tribute band Living On A Bad Name. The money from this fundraiser is going directly towards funding MOA’s recovery coach program.
One of the key topics MOA President Paul Hammersley spoke about was the Recovery Coach program and the controversy surrounding the new recovery center. The goal of the Recovery Coach program is “to serve as a personal guide and mentor for people seeking recovery from addictions,” and to “help remove obstacles and barriers to recovery” (MOA Official Website).
However, Hammersley explained that the controversy in the city was brought to attention when there was a news story “that was supposed to highlight how hard MOA was working” to try and bring the Bridge Recovery Center (a recovery program found in Boston) to Malden. Instead, it was “sensationalized by the news outlet” and presented in a way that criminalized addiction and gave a negative connotation to recovery services.
Hammersley added that although it was a small group that was spreading negativity, it “hurt [them] just the same.” He wanted to make it clear that the proposed center would have been providing services to people already in recovery, and there is no possible link to crime.
There is a lot of stigma around addiction and recovery, but the truth is that people in recovery are “living around us and working alongside us everyday.” In fact, there have been studies that prove that people in recovery who found trouble accessing support will have a more difficult time in maintaining their sobriety.
The main message of the night was that MOA will not let the stigma surrounding addiction interfere with their efforts to better the community, “improv[ing] their quality of life” and “the quality of life of the entire community” as well.
At some point, MOA was sure to thank the generous sponsors of the event and guest speakers throughout the fundraiser that shared their stories of courage, hope, and recovery. One woman in recovery, Kerriann Caccavaro, described the process as “beautiful,” because along the way, she felt as if she had found her “own purpose,” to “spread hope and love that… recovery is possible.” Even though addiction can “steal from you,” recovery does not.
Caccavaro showed support for recovery centers in Malden, saying that “neglecting communities by not allowing a center, support, services, scholarships,” is stealing “hope from the people that genuinely need it.”