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Foundation Story | Part 5

Moody, gold bike petal with blurred background.
Photo by Braeden Park, Park Photo

Driving home from my Alpha House tour and introduction, I was mentally engaged in finding out how to help. I knew that the detox and recovery facility was where I wanted to volunteer and look for an engaging way to encourage those who are on the front lines of early attempts at recovery. After driving home, I decided that I would bring all the things I was passionate about: Vinyl, Mountain Biking, telling a Family recovery story, and... Fantasy Football.

I decided to host a Super Bowl Party for the Alpha House's Detox & Transitional Clients and split the room into two teams to play Fantasy Football. I reached out to David and Diane and said, "I want to host a Super Bowl Party for the clients and show them there is a good time/energy without dangerous substances." The idea/plan was welcomed, and the plan was put into motion.

The plan was to gather as much football memorabilia as I could, make a trophy, and gather up sports jerseys to give away as prizes. As many as 40+ jerseys were donated by friends and family.

Game Day! I entered the Alpha House's Detox & Transitional facility not knowing what to expect, or even if this was a good idea, or if it would be received by the clients. As I set up the vinyl, pictures, posters, snacks, and football memorabilia, I was looked at in complete bewilderment by all the clients in the room. "Who is this guy?", "Are we having a party?", "Can I have one of those albums? I like TOOL!" I didn't say much as I was setting up, as I was nervous and second-guessing if this would align with recovery. Once set up, I decided to introduce myself and just speak from my heart about recovery and a little about the WoodridgeMTB fundraiser. (At this moment, it was just a fundraiser, no intention of registering as a non-profit had crossed my mind) The first thing I noticed when speaking was the majority of the room was actively listening. There was relatability in the eyes of the clients. After speaking, the room was energetic and encouraging. I showed a couple of clips of some mountain biking videos we had made, and it fired up the room. "Is that you?", "Can you flip your bike?" I laughed and said no, that is Scott, and he is on another planet compared to me.

Once the game had started, and the snacks were being enjoyed plenty, the Fantasy Football portion brought lots of questions. "What happens when we score a touchdown?" I said, "You celebrate, especially if the wide receiver is also on your roster." They just smiled and continued to watch the game closely. Before I knew it, the whole room was electric, cheering, laughing, and encouraging players on the TV to make plays and score points. At this point, I knew that I had found the connection I was searching for, and where I could volunteer and potentially make an impact.

By the end of the night, we were all sitting around listening to music, talking about recovery, enjoying the moment, and being present in what turned out to be a successful party!

I packed up my things, said goodbye to everyone, and got into the elevator, and my truck. And wept! I cried the whole way home, I knew what I had to do next!

To Be Continued . . .

- James MacDonald


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