Did you know Oklahoma has the fifth-highest drug overdose mortality rate in the country? The State Department of Health reports Oklahoma's drug overdose rate increased nearly 400 percent between 1999 and 2013. The startling statistics represent just one of many life-controlling issues many Oklahomans face.
September is National Recovery Month. To mark the occasion, two local organizations are sponsoring a special family event to help connect people with resources to help. Connecting through Restoration is a special event that will be hosted from 6 to 10 p.m. Sept. 11 at The Miller Grill at 326 Elm Ave. in Yukon. The event was organized by The Not Alone Project and The Good Fight Church.
Although addiction afflicts countless people in the metro and beyond, it remains a taboo topic. John Phipps, senior pastor of The Good Fight Church in Yukon, hopes the event will help normalize some issues and connect people with help they might need.
"We know people with these problems but it's hardly ever talked about," he said. "We want to showcase the ministries and resources in Oklahoma City to show people the support they do have."
The Good Fight Church began as a ministry of small groups that met regularly throughout the OKC metro to help people overcome life-controlling problems. Between 600 and 900 people a month would visit these groups to address issues in their lives ranging from alcohol abuse and eating disorders to challenges of divorce and blended families. In February, the ministry grew into a church with service at 6 p.m. every Saturday.
Phipps said he hopes the Connection through Restoration event will bring awareness to the different types of services available to locals. The event will feature more than 20 local service organizations to help shed light on a wide range of issues.
"I want them to get connected to local agencies," he said. "I'd love for them to find a cause they can believe in and support. I don't believe people were created to do life alone. The event can help everyone find other people who may be struggling with similar things."
Bradley Keen, CEO of The Not Alone Project, hopes the event is an extension of his project's mission. The Not Alone Project is a story sharing and peer-to-peer mentoring network that gives people a platform to face a painful past and have a successful future.
"A lot of times people wonder, 'What can I do with this pain? I've overcome these things but I don't know what to do with that season of life,'" he said. "So we drag that season of life behind us. That part of your life you wish didn't exist is probably your biggest asset. We give a platform to use it to our into someone else's life."
The Not Alone Project website visitors are able to share their own stories of overcoming life-controlling situations and get encouragement from others.
Keen's hope is that people who attend the event would be able to realize their past wasn't wasted. He believes people recovering from tough pasts can stop trying to forget what they've been through and start recovering by investing in others.
Connection through Restoration will highlight an assortment of issues ranging from depression and overeating to divorce and pornography addiction. The event will be presented in a family-friendly environment complete with face painting, raffle prizes, a cake walk, live concert, a blood drive, boxer dog adoptions and a coat drive.