Unity on the Bridge brings resources to recovering addicts
More than 300 people joined hands on the Walnut Street Bridge Saturday for Unity on the Bridge. The event aims to bring awareness to recovery and addiction.
Participants met to hear speakers from the addiction community, as well as the Chattanooga Hamilton County Health Department.
Organizer Marty Walker says they then joined hands to stretch across the bridge in a symbol of hope. He says for people facing addiction, a helping hand can save a life.
“We want to join hands because it is literally life or death for us,” Walker said. “So we want to all come together and say we're here and we're here to help."
Through the event, people years into recovery unite with those just starting. Daniel Douglas, who participated this year, has been sober for just about a year. He says the community is essential to recovery.
"When something happens, there's always people you can call,” Douglas said. “Whether you're feeling like you're at wits end, all you have to do is pick up the phone and call."
The sense of community isn't new to Veronica Slack. She has 28 years of sobriety under her belt. Even now, her recovery family keeps her going.
"This is my lifestyle, this is my family. Unity is what keeps us going forward,” she said.
Slack says America is facing a huge opioid problem, so their family means more than ever. Unity on the Bridge is her way of building support for those to come.
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"As individuals, we can impact the numbers to come,” Slack said. “We're dealing with the issue right now, but the numbers to come."
Walker says the event's organizers want to provide that support.
"If we could save one life today or plant the seed, we've done our job,” he said.
At Unity on the Bridge, they do that through access to resources, community and a morning of serenity.