FAIRFIELD — Celebrating long-term recovery from addiction is always a good reason to get together.
For Roger Maryatt, of Unity Hall, 20 years sober was as good a reason as any to celebrate with dozens of family members and friends.
Though he shied away from the individual attention, Maryatt was the focus of what he called a community event at the Community United Methodist Church on Fairfield Avenue, Saturday night.
“Wife put the event together to celebrate my 20 years of long-term recovery, but being involved with Solano Recovery project, we made it a community event, so it’s not just friends and family coming over for cake, the entire recovery community can celebrate together,” Maryatt said.
It truly is a community, with close to 150 people showing up at the celebration.
It wasn’t just those in recovery either, but family and supporters as well.
“What we want to work on is changing public opinion and public policy about people who are in recovery,” Maryatt said. “It’s not all about the addict, it’s about the people who are beyond that, and are living a normal life.”
Just as he’s done for much of the past two decades.
Maryatt, 58, began his journey to sobriety 20 years ago.
“Dec. 17, 1993, was the last time I used any mind-altering or mood-changing substances,” he said. “It has been a struggle, changing jobs, going back to school, changing careers at age 51.”
But in the end Maryatt prides himself on being a normal guy.
And that was what he wanted Saturday to be about.
“There’s hundreds and thousands of us that got clean and sober and nobody counts us, we’re here to be counted,” he said, lamenting that the public often focuses on addiction and not what comes after for many people.
With a host of folks with long sobriety records on hand, Maryatt said he wanted to set an example.
“To encourage people who are new in recovery to keep that path,” he said. “This is one of those celebrations that we want to do more often.”
After a community dinner, those gathered were treated to a video presentation featuring other recovery service agencies across the country and what their programs do that Solano Recovery Project can adopt.
Maryatt was also presented with his 20-year chip, a small medallion representing his two decades in recovery.
A number of friends were also signed up to speak, before the crowd cut loose on the dance floor.
“We’re serious about getting a positive message out there,” Maryatt said.
The event was put together by Maryatt’s wife Lynn, who has 18 years of recovery under her belt.
“We’re an amazing community,” Lynn Maryatt said. “We want to grow it. We want people to feel really good about being in recovery.”
Reach Mike Corpos at 427-6979 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mcorposdr.