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Lancaster celebrates addiction recovery with first ever Sober Fest

The idea was created six months ago by Heather Lamkins with Integrated Services in Fairfield County.

LANCASTER, Ohio — A section of North Broad Street in Lancaster was closed off Wednesday for a celebration.

Heather Lamkins thought this day up six months ago. Not for her. For them. For all of them who celebrate numbers.

“Three years in September,” Tiffany Feisel said.

“I’m at nine months, today,” Brandy Crist said.

Delicate days that recognize recovery. 

Feisel, after using for 10 years, fought back and is now almost three years clean. She’s a peer mentor and helps others deal with the wrong side of the road that she’s all too familiar with.

“I needed somebody like me when I was down at my worst,” she said. “So, rather than doing it by yourself, I want to be there to help people.”

Crist is coming up on one year clean.

“It’s hard to get out,” she said. “Especially if you don’t have that help, the hope or the structure to help you get there.” she said.

Wednesday, on that section of North Broad, was a celebration; the city’s first ever Sober Fest.

“It’s uplifting,” Feisel said. “It’s just encouraging to see everybody come together and support each other.”

The event is the brainchild of Lamkins, who is a licensed chemical dependency counselor for Integrated Services in Fairfield County. The event aims to recognize recovery, while knowing it’s a lifelong journey worth taking together.

“It’s the community showing that recovery matters and that we’re proud of what people have achieved,” Lamkins said.

Lamkins says in just a few short months the idea blossomed from three community partners into 30.

“All of my vendors who are selling products are in recovery,” she said.

The event took place Wednesday from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the heart of downtown Lancaster. Lamkins says it’s a time for recovering addicts to come together and learn about other people, boundaries and healthy relationships.

Crist hopes for anyone who has never struggled with addiction to know it’s a fine line that separates active addiction and recovery. Two sides that will always share the same road.

“It is very difficult and I would want them to look in with an open heart and try to understand before judging.”

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