Feb 072005
Authors: Sarah Rawley

Living Sober Colorado, a new organization designed to reach out to recovering alcoholics in the community and those seeking alcohol-free social alternatives provided an alcohol-free party Saturday night.

"This New Beginnings dance is the kickoff (event) for finding places not just for college kids, but for adults, who want an alcohol-free environment," said Susan Fitzsimmons, founder of the organization. "It's about giving people who enjoy music and dancing, an option other than a bar to get together and socialize.

The New Beginnings dance featured music, dancing, games, contests and prizes at the Ramada Inn, 3836 E Mulberry St. Requested donations were $15 per couple and $10 for an individual. The event was open to the general public, ages 18 and older. Special room rates were available for the evening.

Fitzsimmons, in joint efforts with her daughter, Mary Deneau, spearheaded this organization last fall in attempt to provide safe, drug- and alcohol-free events for people seeking to live a sober and healthy lifestyle.

"I, myself, am in recovery and know how important it is to help fill that 'void' with social interaction," Deneau said.

The event was designed to encourage students to get together and have fun without alcohol.

"It is such a societal norm for college students to party and drink. This is a great opportunity so students can realize you don't need alcohol to have fun," said Linzi Gibson, a senior psychology major who works in the Wellness Zone.

For individuals recovering from alcoholism, alcohol-free events can increase the chance of a more successful recovery.

"A big part of recovery is a support system," said Carrie Hayes, graduate assistant for the Center for Drug and Alcohol Education at Hartshorn Health Service. "Events like these provide a network of recovery and living a life alcohol-free."

Fitzsimmons realized that for people who are trying to be alcohol-free, it could be hard to enjoy socializing with people who do not share the same values. Living Sober Colorado's main goal is to bring these people together and pave the way for healthy relationships.

The organization hosted a Halloween party last fall as its first event. It plans to host other events throughout the year, including dances, picnics and parties such as Mardi Gras and Luaus.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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