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Mariners first-ever 'Recovery Day' celebrates sobriety

Organizers say the event is an opportunity to break the stigma surrounding addiction and celebrate sobriety.

SEATTLE — Sunday will be the first-ever "Recovery Day" at a Mariners game. Event organizers said it's an opportunity to break the stigma surrounding addiction and celebrate sobriety.

The game will feature a mini resource fair, offering information and help for people trying to overcome addiction.

Organizers said they've sold more than 1,500 tickets specifically for Recovery Day and they expect visitors from across the state.

To celebrate three years of sobriety, recovering addict Brandon Johnson will be catching the first pitch during the inaugural Recovery Day at T-Mobile Park when the Mariners take on the Toronto Blue Jays.

“Knowing that there are other people out there that are going through this, that you can reach out to, talk to, get advice from, is so helpful,” said Melissa Johnson, Brandon’s wife.

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Each day presents a new set of challenges during his recovery, Johnson said. 

“It's constantly a struggle. My disease is well and active in my life, especially with my fears. I have fears of failure, I have fears with my speech, I'm a person who stutters,” said Johnson, a Puyallup resident.

Those fears drove him to use meth, cocaine, opiates, and eventually heroin. It got to the point where his wife Melissa told him that if he didn't choose recovery, she and their two kids would move on.

Johnson called a treatment center the next day.

“I put my recovery at the forefront of my life and I plan my life around my recovery,” he said.

A stuttering support group helped Brandon overcome his speech problems. The Washington Recovery Alliance helped him advocate in Olympia for more public attention and dollars to address addiction.

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“Peer support has been an instrumental part of my recovery,” Brandon said, “I cannot do this alone.”

He said once he stopped hiding and opened up, life got so much better. On Sunday, he'll be surrounded by a stadium of support cheering him on.

“Having to speak out and overcome my fears and anxiety has been instrumental in my recovery, because with every little bit that I chip off, and I break away these fears, I grow that much more, I become more confident in this person that I never knew I was capable of being,” Johnson said.

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