Hung over this morning?
If so, are you fed up? Have you finally come to the realization that you have to quit?
This might help.
My favorite radio station, WAPS (91.3-FM), known as “The Summit,” has for nearly a decade offered an around-the-clock online stream along with a nightly block of on-air programming called “Rock and Recovery” designed to bring comfort and guidance to those fighting alcohol, drug and mental health issues. Because all of those problems have been exacerbated by the pandemic, the station has just expanded its array of offerings.
The most prominent element of Rock and Recovery is on the FM band, where a three-hour segment airs every day from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Uplifting rather than preachy, it features music and spots geared to those who are struggling and those who are recovering.
It was launched in 2011 as a one-hour show beginning at midnight. The extra two hours were added a few months later. As of this month, the show has a host, rather than just music and prerecorded cut-ins: station personality Garrett Hart, who founded Rock and Recovery and coordinates it.
That on-air segment remains the programming with the broadest reach, but a slew of other things have been added to the online channel, including podcasts, interviews and self-help links.
The timing is certainly right. The Centers for Disease Control issued a report last month that said U.S. adults “reported considerably elevated adverse mental health conditions associated with COVID-19.
“Younger adults, racial/ethnic minorities, essential workers and unpaid adult caregivers reported having experienced disproportionately worse mental health outcomes, increased substance use and elevated suicidal [thoughts].”
It’s not as if nobody was struggling before the pandemic. The Ohio Alliance for Innovation in Population Health reported this summer that deaths by suicide in Ohio soared 34% between 2009 and 2018. Nearly five Ohioans die by suicide every day.
Alcohol abuse is through the roof — fully 20% of Ohioans over 18 are now considered “binge drinkers” — as is drug abuse. Nine Ohioans reportedly die each day from drug-related effects.
Marc Lee Shannon is among those who have struggled mightily with substance abuse. Shannon is a superb local musician who for two decades has been a guitarist in Michael Stanley’s band and also has put out two solid albums of his own. He has launched a weekly show called “Recovery Talks: The Podcast.”
Shannon is interviewing folks in recovery, giving them “a safe space to share their stories and how they are not just surviving but thriving.”
His is a powerful voice, both literally and figuratively.
In his first installment, about seven minutes in length, he lays out his goals. Among them: “I want to lift up those people who are absolutely making it, those lanterns, those lighthouses for us. I want to use my voice as an advocate for those who suffer the unbearable pain that addiction brings into life.
“I want to shout out against the stigma. I want to help people understand that addiction is not the result of a lack of character, and recovery is not simply a matter of willpower. I want to stand up and stand by those who are making it and show that this can be done.”
Among the other features available on the Rock and Recovery website:
• A 12-step-based discussion centered around yoga.
• Live songs and stories by regional artists who are in recovery.
• Hart’s interviews with musicians, athletes, authors, judges, therapists and recovery coaches about not only substance abuse but grief and loss, sex addition and gambling.
To see all of the offerings, go to: https://www.rockandrecovery.com/
There’s a smartphone app, too.
The station’s general manager, Tommy Bruno, who has had a long and varied career in broadcasting, points to Rock and Recovery as his crowning achievement, “my most important work.”
He cautions that Rock and Recovery is not a panacea, that it should be viewed as a supplement to counseling and 12-step programs.
The Summit is a noncommercial public radio station owned by Akron Public Schools. Its normal daily programming consists of an incredibly eclectic playlist, including lots of selections by local artists. It is public radio at its finest.
Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or email@example.com. He also is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bob.dyer.31
If you are contemplating suicide or worried about someone else, call 330-434-9144 or 800-273-TALK (8255). Both numbers will ring to the Portage Path Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention hotline, which is staffed 24 hours a day by a trained volunteer or staff member.