Free drug recovery symposium set for Saturday

By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 10:17 am on Thursday, April 21, 2016

John MacDougall

GREENVILLE — Anyone who is struggling with a drug addiction or has a loved one who is struggling knows how impossible the situation can feel.

Montcalm County’s fourth annual Recovery Symposium aims to encourage and inspire these people.

National speaker Dr. John MacDougall will be featured at the event, which is 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday at Greenville Community Church. Costs for the event are being covered by local church, business and private donations, as well as by the Mid-State Health Network.

The event is hosted by the Montcalm Alano Club, Ionia/Montcalm Families Against Narcotics and Montcalm Recovery & Integrated Services of Care, “in continued efforts to collaborate and combine resources to create a vibrant and healthy recovery community,” summarized 8th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Suzanne Hoseth Kreeger.

Greenville’s First Church of God Pastor Bob Cooper is chairman of the Montcalm Recovery & Integrated Services of Care steering committee.

“Those who are stuck in a recovery situation or know a family member who is, you just don’t know what to do and you don’t know where to turn,” Cooper said. “It’s good to have some folks who know what you’re going through, who have gone through recovery and are succeeding.

“It’s a medical condition,” he added. “That’s a difficult thing for people to understand unless you’re connected to it. It becomes something that is nearly impossible for you to control without help or support, whether medical or emotional.”

Cooper thinks MacDougall is such an inspirational speaker he will also be having the doctor speak at First Church of God at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday.

“He knows what he’s talking about,” Cooper said. “He has a way of speaking that connects well with people. I really think it’s going to be encouraging for folks to know there is hope, there is help, there are people who care. We just want to offer clarity and encouragement.”

Montcalm Alano Club President Brian Mullin noted, as a recovering alcoholic himself, it’s crucial for him to obtain as much information about recovery as possible to help battle the disease.

“It’s important for others to receive that information too,” he said. “Help is available. The important thing for people to know is that they’re not alone. We can fight this together.”

Saturday’s Recovery Symposium is being held in addition to tonight’s regular meeting of Ionia/Montcalm Families Against Narcotics at 7 p.m. Those meetings are always held at Greenville’s First Congregational Church the third Thursday of each month.

Tonight’s meeting will involve separate facilitated breakout/support groups for those struggling with addiction, family members of those struggling with addiction and those who have lost a loved one to addiction.

To register for Saturday’s event, or for more information, call John Kroneck at (989) 831-4591 or email

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