COLUMBIA — Nearly 100 people gathered across the street from Phoenix Programs’ nearly-completed new building last Wednesday to celebrate recovery from addiction.
Waiting to share their stories of struggle and success at the corner of Providence Road and Vandiver Drive in the McKnight Plaza parking lot, members of Phoenix Programs were given the opportunity to place items or letters in a time capsule. The capsule, filled with stories of addiction and recovery, will be placed within the walls of Phoenix Programs’ new building when it opens in November.
“We’re combining the past with the present and the future,” Rhiannon Pearson, the accountant for Phoenix Programs, said.
Pearson said she hoped that the many who struggled with addiction would contribute to the capsule. Phoenix Programs alumni have already sent in letters for the capsule, he said.
Pearson ticked off some possibilities for items that can be placed in the time capsule — Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous coins, notes, letters, texts and recovery stories and photos.
Phoenix Programs, a substance abuse treatment and recovery service, has worked to reduce the adverse affects of drugs and alcoholism in the area for 35 years. The not-for-profit’s new building will house all of its services under one roof.
Clinical Director James Kimbro read the Phoenix Program’s Creed to kick off the event.
“Never again should you have to become isolated from your community,” Kimbro said.
Kimbro, once a patient himself at Phoenix, said it’s not about how smart people are, but about how much they apply themselves.
“I believe all of you guys are stars,” Kimbro said smiling. “Because if you reach for the moon, and don’t get there, at least you’ll be among the stars.”
Kimbro talked about the evolution of Phoenix Programs’ services over the years and the program's ability to offer financial assistance for people who cannot afford their own treatment, he said.
Assistant City Manager Paula Hertwig Hopkins was on hand to put the first item into the capsule from the City of Columbia.
“Imagine someone’s future in this piece of paper,” said Hertwig Hopkins. “All residents past, present and future.”
Jesse Stephens, the contractor of the new Phoenix House building, came up with the idea for the time capsule.
“While we’re most likely going to be placing the time capsule in the wall or the ceiling, there are a lot of other meaningful places to put it,” Stephens said.
Kimbro said the staff has been waiting to move the Phoenix House to a new location for the past five years.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Kimbro said. “I think it’s really going to bring more of a connection with our staff."