MOUNDRIDGE — Sometimes it takes looking back to encourage others look forward, especially for those who battle addictions to drugs and alcohol.
The annual Night of Hope will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Oct. 21 at Valley Hope, 200 S. Ave. B in Moundridge.
"This is our second year that we're doing it," said market development manager Ryan Culver. "It's just a good-feeling, positive event."
Valley Hope wants to show patients and the public that recovery from addictions can happen.
"There's a lot of negative stuff in the news about addiction and the opioid epidemic, and so this just kind of brings up that recovery is possible. There's hope out there," Culver said.
The event is free and open to the public, who are welcome to tour Valley Hope's facility and ask questions.
"We invite the community or anyone that's interested to come in," Culver said. "We want people to know who we are and that we're a friendly place."
The Night of Hope event has several components, including the bestowing of the Golden Heart Award and a speaker.
"We have a guest speaker, who is usually a past patient, tell their story of where they were and where they're at now," Culver said. "They have interesting stories that are short and instill hope in the current patients."
One of the biggest parts of the Night of Hope is a ceremony in which former patients come back after a year of being clean and sober.
"A lot of our past patients come back because they like to stay connected to us and we like to stay connected to them," Culver said. "For recovery success, if they stay connected, they always do better."
At Night of Hope, those previous patients pick up a cup they decorated when they were discharged.
"We have a whole wall of cups. That's just our symbol that we've started; that we've had for the last 50 years at Valley Hope," Culver said.
The tradition started with one of Valley Hope's first patients, who drank coffee from the same mug every day.
"That cup was important, because he used it every day in treatment," Culver said. "He hung it on the mantel when he left and said, 'in a year, I'm going to come back and get that,' and it just stuck."
As they pick up their cup, the patient can share briefly about the past year of their lives.
"For a lot of patients, it's the first time they've completed something and it really means a lot; it's very special," said Admissions Counselor Jenna Maley.
Hearing the stories of addiction recovery and seeing cups in the hands of former patients gives current patients hope for their own futures.
"It does motivate people to come back. They want those cups. That's what they set their mind to," Culver said.
Valley Hope of Moundridge can hold up to 50 patients, providing individual therapy and group classes for men and women age 18 and older.
"The city actually gave us the land to build on; we're part of the chamber, so we've been really well accepted here," Culver noted.
For more information about Valley Hope, visit https://valleyhope.org or call 620-860-1904.
Contact Patricia Middleton by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her stories on Twitter at @MacSentinel.