Guest Column: Recovery’s Got Talent puts face on addiction

Published 9:46 am Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Guest Column by Jenine Koziolek

Jenine Koziolek is an outreach specialist at Fountain Centers in Albert Lea.

Addiction can be an isolating and lonely disease. In the midst of despair, individuals are often simply surviving; putting one foot in front of the other and anticipating the next high verses planning for the future. Addiction: a cunning, baffling and powerful disease, often takes shape by deceiving the individual using the chemicals. Family, friends and the community are left struggling to know how to help, intervene and trust.

Jenine Koziolek

Jenine Koziolek

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Society often portrays addiction as the face of the person on the front page of the paper who was arrested due to a behavior often related to the addiction. That face is also part of a human being who is struggling. He is a son, she may be a mom; they are our neighbors.

When recovery starts to take shape for individuals who desire a new beginning, a change for the addict comes in recognizing their worth and the importance of positive connections. Their dreams begin to emerge and a new reality seems possible.

This time of exploration often involves identifying hobbies and talents. As time progresses, sharing those talents with others becomes a reality.

A local effort called Recovery’s Got Talent was created to showcase talents of persons in recovery, promote positive self-image and self-expression, build alliances and unity within the recovery community, host positive social events and counter negative stigmas of addiction.

Recovery’s Got Talent got its start when Kevin Langton — executive director at what was a recovery community organization in Mankato, Southern Minnesota Recovery Connection — and I almost simultaneously said, “Wouldn’t this be fun?” Inspired by a similar program held in Philadelphia called Recovery Idol, we began drafting the structure of our first Recovery’s Got Talent show in 2013.

The planning crew had aspirations to make this show a time for fellowship, fun and to show off all the talented individuals, while also celebrating the rewards of recovery. The face of addiction does not define who people are, living in recovery.

In order to participate in Recovery’s Got Talent, we ask for people to complete an entry form and sign an alcohol/drug-free pledge. Performance selections are identified by the contestant and are less than five minutes long. Each contestant has an opportunity to sing only one song or showcase one talent within the allotted time frame. In addition, acts must be family-friendly with no profanity or nudity. Three finalists are selected from each preliminary round and move on to the finale. The finale will determine the top three contestants and awarded prizes with the first-place price receiving $500!

Recovery’s Got Talent is free for anyone who wishes to offer their support for the effort or the individuals participating.

The event has grown and changed and now includes several other organizations. Recovery is Happening is a recovery community organization based in Rochester and it came aboard just last year. Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge will be joining the efforts this year. New this year is also a logo contest to define Recovery’s Got Talent for future years to come.

The face of recovery is that of a person who is recreating his or her life. He is a son, she is a mom, they are our neighbors; and they need our care and support. Recovery’s Got Talent is special because of who is involved. We have the opportunity to come together, enjoy good talent and believe that people do heal and go on to live a fulfilling life.

Contact me at 507-377-6747 for more information on how to get involved, or look for more information on how to register at