Women's Recovery Team Attempts Mt. Rainier to Put a Face on The Power of Recovery From Alcohol and Drugs

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A team of women in recovery will attempt to summitt Mt. Rainier on July 21st and 22nd to put a face on the power of recovery.

Women who strive to improve their lives by letting go of alcohol and drugs are determined and courageous. They face a journey that requires strength, perseverance, trust in others, and most importantly deep faith in themselves. But recovery is not a final destination; it is a process, one that is built on knowledge, acceptance and a deep commitment to using the tools that are acquired in treatment, every single day. Much like recovery, climbing one of the single biggest mountains in the 48 contiguous United States, is a process too. On July 21 & 22, 2006 The Power of Recovery Climb will illustrate the similarities between the journey of recovery and the journey of summiting a mountain like Mt. Rainier.

Comprised of a diverse group of women in recovery, The Power of Recovery Climb team is climbing to show others still struggling with chemical dependency, that a life in recovery is not only possible, but powerful. Organized by Eve Ruff, an experienced mountain climber and a woman also in recovery, the climb is the manifestation of a realization that occurred several summers ago after Eve's last summit attempt with a group of cancer survivors while still deep in her alcoholism.

"At that time I was struck with the bitter irony of the situation," says Eve. "Here was a group of people, who successfully challenged their fears and their spirits by training, one day at a time, one step at a time, to climb this mountain yet there I was, silent, afraid and alone in my disease. The lessons of living in the moment and enjoying the journey itself, not just the destination, were powerful for those climbers, but sadly lost on me. That was my moment of awakening, my last drink and the beginning of my journey towards recovery."

On July 22nd, after their previous days' trek from Paradise to Camp Muir, The Power of Recovery Climb team, led by Eve and mountain guide "Mac" MacLeod, will rise in the dark of night and attempt to summit Mt. Rainier. For most of the climbers this will be their first attempt at climbing and the second most difficult challenge of their lives. The women will have trained for six months prior and range in age from 21 up including a 59 year old treatment counselor and two mother/daughter teams. "I am so excited to be climbing side by side with my mom," says Meghan H of one of the mother/daughter teams. "She and I spent many summers hiking and camping at Mt. Rainier and talking about climbing it one day. Now we finally get to do it. I am climbing for the challenge and adventure, but most of all, for other young women struggling with addiction.”

Whether they have struggled with the disease of addiction themselves, or experienced the pain as a family member of friend, each of the climbers hope to show others still struggling that recovery is possible and that success is not be based on the actual summiting of Mt. Rainier, but on their own commitment and passion for forging a trail for those who follow behind. Together, they will show that if you are courageous enough to take the first step you can have a meaningful life in recovery. As part of the climb, the team is also raising funds for the Residence XII Scholarship Fund to make treatment available to more women who might not have the resources to receive it. As part of this fundraising effort they climbers will hold a garage sale and bake sale on June 10th, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 5809 Kensington Place North, Seattle, 98103. Contributions can also be made directly at http://www.recoveryclimb.org

Susan Burnash, Director of Marketing of Residence XII, will also climb with a production crew, to film a documentary about the women and their stories of addiction and recovery. She is currently raising funds to insure the project can be completed and made available to PBS, the media, educational outlets and treatment centers across the country. Her desire is to create a vehicle that will create more public awareness and education about the power of recovery. Sponsorship and documentary participation opportunities are still available for corporations or individuals who support the power of recovery. For more information, or to contribute go to http://www.recoveryclimb.org and click on Documentary.

About Residence XII - Located in Kirkland, Washington, Residence XII is the Northwest's premier non-profit alcohol and chemical dependency treatment center for women and their families. Opened in 1981, they have treated more than 7,000 women with alcohol and chemical dependency and their families. Their gender-specific programs include Inpatient, Intensive Outpatient, Continuing Care, and Relapse Prevention for women 18 and up.


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Susan Burnash