JEFFERSONVILLE — A week ago, Lisa Livingston was released from Rockville Correctional Facility after the Indiana Supreme Court reduced her 30-year prison sentence.
On Friday, she shared her story of recovery from drug addiction with a crowd at the Nachand Fieldhouse in Jeffersonville, emphasizing her commitment to serve other community members in recovery.
"I get high off of recovery," she said. "I don’t need no drugs today. I’m just glad to be home. I appreciate everyone who’s supported me, and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for my life."
Clark County CARES presented Recovery Rocks! Friday at the Nachand Fieldhouse to raise awareness of recovery from addiction. The all-ages concert featured live music, speakers, free food and resources.
The event was part of Clark County CARES' Drug Facts Week activities. Livingston, who founded the BreakAway women's recovery home in New Albany, was one of many speakers who shared their own stories of addiction and recovery.
A number of organizations provided information about resources available to people facing addiction, including LifeSpring Health Systems, Community Action Southern Indiana, Wellstone Regional Hospital and Sunrise Recovery. The Clark County Health Department provided free HIV and hepatitis C testing, and the Indiana Recovery Alliance from Bloomington offered naloxone training.
Carolyn King, a member of Clark County CARES, said the event was targeted at those in the recovery community or people looking for recovery.
"What we want to do is build a community among people in recovery so they can have safe places to go enjoy music and be with friends," she said.
John Cunningham attended Recovery Rocks! to provide information about Recover Out Loud, a recovery group he founded in Greensburg. The organization allows people who are struggling with addictions to help each other with recovery by building relationships and connections.
Cunningham struggled with heroin and opioid addiction for about 11 to 12 years, and he faced a 30-year prison sentence, but he was released after two years and nine months. He said he's been clean for seven years since then.
He said he wants to spread hope to those struggling with addiction and connect them to people who can help.
"This means everything," Cunningham said. "We need all the awareness we can get. Here’s the thing — the drug epidemic is going nowhere. Events like this, in my opinion, can be life-saving. This gets everyone connected."
He said it is important for people to share their stories of addiction and recovery, since it can help both themselves and others who have experienced the same struggles.
"When you get out in front of people and you speak your experience, you’re giving hope, and it changes you," he said. "It lets you know how powerful your story really is and how important you really are, because a lot of times when you’re an addict, you forget that. You forget that you even mean anything."
New Washington resident Tony Hostetler spoke about his recovery process at the event, saying that he was at "death's door" about three years ago while struggling with addiction. He discussed the importance of telling people he needed help whenever he felt an itch to use drugs or to drink.
Since then, he has been in recovery, and he is now a certified peer recovery coach working at the Healing Place in Louisville.
"[Recovery] is possible," he said. "All you have to do is just do the steps and work for it. Step outside of yourself. It's just about how hard you work to get where you want to be."
Hostetler discussed the importance of community in fighting addiction, including those who are in recovery themselves.
"Just like the old saying goes that it takes a village to raise a child, it's going to take a community to end this thing," he said. "I don't know if we'll ever end it. I don't know that we'll ever get control of it. But we can make a dent here in Clark County."