"The quality of life is diminished when you are affected by drugs or alcohol," said Kristen Sailor, adding that addiction brings with it a ripple effect for immediate family, friends and the community, who, through the sufferer's recovery, can heal also.
"Lifeit can be awesome," said Sailor, whose road to recovery from alcoholism has included the formation of Maggie's Addiction Recovery Fund, through which the first main event, Race for Recovery, was held June 15.
Held to benefit those struggling with addiction, the event drew 69 participants and was organized by Sailor. Her experience as a recovering addict led her to found the nonprofit organization to raise money to help struggling people get on the path to recovery.
Photo by Kathleen Palumbo, Town Crier correspondent
Kristen Sailor of Boardman, whose ongoing recovery from alcoholism and desire to help others struggling with addiction prompted the formation of Maggie’s Addiction Recovery Fund.
"It was a perfect day," said Sailor of the event, which was open to all ages, and was held at the Canfield High School track and surrounding Mill Creek MetroParks trails.
"Our goal is to create awareness and to get people into in-patient care, which is necessary for the people who have this lifelong disease," said Sailor. "It's important to all addicts because you need to separate yourself from the normal environment that you're used to. It's necessary to be surrounded by professionals with the knowledge concerning this disease."
The race is the first major fundraiser for the organization and was inspired by Sailor's own recovery experience since March 2012, after she spent one month at Glenbeigh Recovery Center. Sailor said that becoming physically active became a huge part of her ongoing recovery.
Sharing that one of her first goals as part of her recovery was to run a 5K, which she said has always been on her bucket list, "I ran my first 5K of my entire life two months after I became sober," said Sailor. "It was part of my inspiration, and it definitely was a turning point for me in life."
"This disease is progressive," said Sailor of the alcoholism, which sent her into what she calls a three-year downward spiral during which she said she attempted to quit and suffered seizures. It was through Glenbeigh's treatment that Sailor said she felt the need to help other people, adding that it is all part of the recovery process.
"It turned into something much bigger," said Sailor, when she said she had friends who began asking for help. That, coupled with her knowledge that the process for them would need to include medical care, led to the formation of the fund.
Sailor, a 1988 Boardman High School graduate and lifelong Boardman resident, is married with two children.
"I enjoy very much my sober life," said Sailor, adding that it's healthier and happier.
Already gearing up for Maggie's Addiction Recovery Fund's next endeavor, Sailor said plans include a winter event involving area chefs.
"I wearI wouldn't say it's a badge of honor," said Sailor of her disease and subsequent recovery, but rather the desire to see that it doesn't have to have the evil stigma that it does.