Dane County Coalition to Reduce Alcohol Abuse Debuts “Sober Journey” Exhibit
November 08, 2010
Joshua Wescott, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823 or cell (608) 669-5606
Stories of Alcohol Abuse Portrayed in New Art Gallery Displayed Before the Holidays
Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk helped debut a dramatic new exhibit today that portrays the many forms of suffering individuals and families experience because of alcohol abuse. The new “Sober Journey” art exhibit stems from months of work by the Dane County Coalition to Reduce Alcohol Abuse to gather personal stories of the many hurts of alcohol abuse in our communities.
Those stories are depicted in the art work on display at the Common Wealth Gallery at 100 South Baldwin (3rd Floor) in Madison through November 14th.
“This new exhibit offers very visual reminders of the pain and problems that drinking too much causes in our county,” Falk said. “With holiday festivities right around the corner, I hope this collection is another opportunity for people to pause and reflect on the choices they make and how others may be affected.”
The exhibit includes a variety of art work reflecting people’s stories of their experience abusing alcohol, pressures that led them to drink too much, how alcohol is portrayed at school or work, and risks that people take when intoxicated.
Dr. Stephanie Joy Smith, a member of the Dane County Coalition coordinated the art exhibit based on stories gathered by the co-directors of the coalition - - Judy Adrian and Carol Lobes. Smith has worked with young people at Counseling Connections, a facility in Fitchburg that treats and supports young people in recovery from alcohol abuse, and with freshmen students at Edgewood College’s Alcohol 101 class to create dozens of masks telling their personal stories or experiences with alcohol abuse.
Falk also announced at the press conference the Dane County Coalition to Reduce Alcohol Abuse has launched a new tool to help people assess whether those “few drinks” after work each night may be indicative of a bigger problem.
This assessment is called “eCheckup to Go” and it helps people learn about their alcohol tolerance and identify personal and family risk factors and strategies to get help before drinking problems escalate.
“Dane County is one of only two counties in the country using this tool to help people determine whether they have a drinking problem and help them know when it’s time to get help,” Falk said.
This new assessment is available at: www.countyofdane.com/commissions/alcohol
On Monday evening, the County Executive will join the Dane County Coalition to Reduce Alcohol Abuse for an official opening reception for the new display. At that reception, Falk and the coalition will honor local businesses and media who have been helpful partners in the coalition’s work to confront the cultural acceptance of alcohol overconsumption.
Falk launched a comprehensive initiative in 2008 to help reduce the human and economic misery that alcohol abuse causes in Dane County. That initiative included new work in local middle schools to prevent kids from starting drinking, expanded efforts to treat and rehabilitate repeat drunk drivers, extra drunk driving patrols on Friday and Saturday nights by the Dane County Sheriff’s Office and creation of this first-of-its-kind countywide coalition to work on changing the cultural prevalence and acceptance of alcohol abuse.