stone painted with slogan "One Day at a Time"Students in the Lancers Recover program have been painting inspirational messages on rocks and placing them in public flowerbeds across Windsor-Essex.

Rocks carry messages of recovery from addiction

The distribution of dozens of stones painted with inspirational slogans and symbols will help raise the profile of issues of addiction and recovery, say participants in the Lancers Recover Program.

The #RecoveryRocks project is already underway. September is National Recovery Awareness month, meant to educate people about substance use disorder and available mental health services and supports.

UWindsor student Jason, who asked that his surname not be used, placed a stone in a park near his home, painted with the words “One Day at a Time.” Both the saying and the timing have significance for him, marking one year of sobriety.

“I only found recovery a year ago,” he says. “My addiction was always kept in silence, as a shameful secret.”

He says the idea of taking one day at a time helped him to manage his addiction.

“The real success of happiness is to make the most of each day,” Jason says. “I am grateful for the support that services and resources have afforded me over the past year.”

Psychology professor Onawa LaBelle founded Lancers Recover as a supportive environment of peers to reinforce any student’s decision to abstain from alcohol or drugs. She hopes the public placement of the rocks will serve as an awareness campaign to reduce stigma and let people affected by substance use disorder know there is help available.

Messages that members contributed include: “It works if you work it,” “Keep coming back,” and “Recovery is a journey, not a destination.”

“For the students in the Lancers Recover program, this is an opportunity to express themselves artistically, do service work related to awareness about recovery, work collaboratively as a team, and get outside for some social connection — all while staying safe during COVID-19,” Dr LaBelle says.

Jason adds that the experience was both creative and cathartic.

“The recovery group is a perfect fit and makes me feel like I am at home,” he says. “It feels amazing to be able to give back and help someone else.”

Learn more about the University of Windsor’s collegiate recovery program on the Lancers Recover website.