New flag eyed to champion cause of addicts in recovery
That's how Marty Boldin pitched his latest idea to John Sweeney, who serves with him on the board of Hope for New Hampshire Recovery. Both men have been in recovery for many years.
Boldin called Sweeney, a Derry artist who coaches others who are new to recovery, and asked whether he would design a flag. Sweeney didn't hesitate.
Hassan applauded the group's efforts.
"Hopefully, it will take off," he said. "We want to have a symbol out there to let people know they're not alone and that ... recovery is spoken where that flag is flown."
"Wouldn't it be a really great thing for restaurants and employers to have out there so that when people go to work, they're not afraid to tell their bosses they're in sobriety?'' he said. "Or that the reason they don't want to go to the Christmas party where everyone's getting snockered isn't because they're anti-social but because it isn't consistent with their lifestyle."
Sweeney has been clean and sober for 14 years. He reached out for help, he said, when he realized alcohol abuse "was literally killing me."
The Hope for New Hampshire Recovery board has another near-term goal: creation of the state's first recovery center, in Manchester.
Boldin envisions a place where people in early stages of recovery would find support and resources to help them stay sober, seek employment and build connections. He'd like to see the center host sober entertainment events, such as open mike nights, as well as education, training and other support services.
And while the board hopes to seek out any federal or state funding that could be available, Boldin said the plan is to make such centers, which he hopes will open in other cities as well as Manchester, self-sustaining. "At the end of the day, we want to make sure that these places, when they open, are able to pay their own rent and are not dependent on the winds of political favor," he said.
"I'm 26 years clean and sober, and I'm a trusted public servant who affects positively the life of thousands of Manchester youth every year because I live a clean and sober lifestyle," Boldin said. "And I understand not only professionally but personally the kinds of processes that people need to go through to get sober."
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