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Baraboo nonprofit gears up for bike ride, barbecue to connect people recovering from addiction
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Baraboo nonprofit gears up for bike ride, barbecue to connect people recovering from addiction

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A hot dog at Devil’s Lake State Park: $3. Cost to meet other people recovering from drug addiction and building one another up: priceless.

In-Courage Sauk County is gearing up for a 3-mile bike ride and barbecue event Sept. 21 aimed at bringing community members together to celebrate healthy lifestyles and sobriety.

“Connection beats addiction. Connection is the difference between addiction and active recovery,” said Lory Seffrood, Sauk County Human Services peer support specialist and a leading member at In-Courage.

The nonprofit group connects people recovering from drug addiction and is actively branching out into communities to raise awareness about the issue, Seffrood said.

The 3-mile bike ride begins at the In-Courage office in Baraboo, 102 4th Ave., and ends at Devil’s Lake State Park. Between noon and 2 p.m., people can grill out together and kayak on the lake. Anyone is welcome.

“People love to bike in this town,” said Baraboo resident Kirk Knight, who plans to participate Sept. 21.

While the bike ride is free, attendees should plan to bring some cash in case they want to rent watercraft. At Devil’s Lake State Park, single kayak rentals are $15 per hour, and double kayak rentals run $24 an hour.

Dubbed the “Tie Dyed Bike Ride and Bring Your Own Beef Bar BQ,” Seffrood said the phrase is a lighthearted take on celebrating sobriety as a group.

“It’s important for the whole community to be involved,” Knight said, adding social connection is a basic human need. “We don’t want anyone to feel outcast. You stay sick when you’re alone.”

Anyone who wants to attend the barbecue but is short on money shouldn’t feel discouraged, Knight said, because In-Courage will bring plenty of food to go around.

“No one is going hungry,” Knight said. “If they wanna eat, they’re gonna eat.”

Exercise, food and natural scenery are all part of a recipe for a healing environment, Seffrood said.

“The lake lends itself to a lot of activity and easy connection with strangers,” she said.

Devil’s Lake State Park Concessions Manager Kevin Flock said every year, the park’s visitor population grows.

Flock said he’s seen a number of first-time visitors who immediately loved the park and adopted a complete lifestyle change. He added the park can accommodate families, tourists and anyone seeking new or healthy hobbies.

“We try to offer a little bit of everything for everyone,” Flock said. “It’s a lot different than going to the gym and hopping on a treadmill.”

Cazenovia resident Jeremy Hisel said he plans to join the Sept. 21 bike ride. He travels regularly to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in Baraboo and said he is training alongside Knight to be a recovery coach for others.

Hisel said he was at the lowest point of his life in January, and the support of his family and peers helped him get away from his addiction. Any time people can connect in a group setting full of acceptance is empowering for everyone involved, Hisel said.

“I know how it feels to go through that and feel alone in it,” Hisel said. “It’s important for me to give back to this sober way of life.”

Follow Brad on Twitter @BradMikeAllen or call him at 608-745-3510.

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