Liberation Programs Inc. and Grace Baptist Church, along with numerous area faith-based groups, will take part in an Interfaith Celebration of Recovery Thursday, Sept. 30, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Grace Baptist Church, 17 West Ave, Norwalk. The Interfaith Celebration, is open to the community and will include praise dancing, poetry readings, singing and will serve as an opportunity for persons in recovery and providers to share their successes with neighbors, friends and colleagues.

According to the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 23.1 million people in the United States have been classified with substance use disorders. Alan J. Mathis, president and CEO of Liberation Programs, who envisioned the Interfaith Celebration, reports that there are an estimated 300,000 people in Connecticut alone, are affected by addiction. Addiction is a powerful disorder that stifles personal progress, interrupts or dissolves family relationships and attributes to a myriad of social ills; however, the disorder, at any stage can be successfully treated.

"People shy away from getting help not knowing that treatment is highly effective, or they simply do not know what services are available to them," he said. "It is imperative that we use various platforms and create opportunities to spread the word that treatment and prevention work."

Planning for the event began last fall when Mathis and the Rev. Lindsay Curtis of Grace Baptist Church agreed to host the Interfaith Celebration to demonstrate the faith-based community's support for people in recovery. In addition to receiving services from recovery-focused providers, partnerships between civic groups and faith-based organizations allow individuals to incorporate church attendance and pastoral counseling as part of their overall recovery plan. "

Faith and spirituality have played and continue to play an integral role helping people with substance abuse disorders reestablish their lives by offering the recovering addict optimism, forgiveness and an surrounding them with people who aim to make good choices," Mathis said.

The Interfaith Celebration is just one event created to take part of a national initiative known as National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month, which is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Center for Substance Abuse, within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This year marks the 21st annual celebration of Recovery Month, which honors people in recovery from substance use disorders, as well as those who provide treatment and recovery services, and promotes the need for treatment access and long-term recovery. Recovery Month also encourages citizens to help expand and improve the availability of effective substance abuse treatment for those in need.

Liberation Programs, Inc. has sites in Greenwich, Stamford, Darien, Norwalk and Bridgeport that serve 1,200 adults and adolescents each day in residential and outreach programs aimed at restoring the lives of individuals and families that have faced the disease of addiction.