COAST Hosting Two St. John Events in September To Mark Recovery Month

The Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence St. Thomas/St. John (COAST) invites the community to take part in two free events offered this month as part of the observance of September as National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month.

The first event is a film screening and public form on Wednesday, September 21, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Myrah Keating Smith Community Health Center. The forum is titled “Why Won’t They Just Stop Drinking? Is Alcoholism Really a Disease?” and the film “Pleasure Unwoven” will be screened.

The 70-minute documentary shares the latest information about addiction and alcoholism coming out of neuroscience research.

“The film is from the point of view of a neuroscientist and it really explains the whole disease in layman’s terms,” said COAST executive director Shelley Williams. “A lot of times the disease is difficult to understand and explained in a way which is over a lot of people’s heads. This documentary actually explains it in way we can all understand.”

“You can’t have recovery unless you understand the disease,” she said.

The group will watch the film and then discuss the disease and steps toward recovery, Williams explained.
“Everyone who has a substance abuse issue should come out to the forum as well as family members of people who are suffering,” she said. “The family is an important part of the recovery process. Even if the family member has not made the decision to stop using, it’s good to get help for themselves.”

COAST’s second program on St. John is scheduled for Thursday, September 29, at 8 p.m. at the University of the Virgin Islands St. John Academic Center at The Marketplace when the group will screen the film “Rain,” by Maria Govan.

One of the first indigenous feature films out of the Bahamas, “Rain” highlights how addiction affects the youth, explained Williams.

“It’s a wonderful movie which was made in the Caribbean and shows how the addiction process affects the whole family,” said the COAST executive director. “It tells the story of a young girl whose mother is addicted to drugs and how that affects her life and her children.”

“The reason we wanted to show this film is because often times the children are forgotten in terms of how the disease affects young people in the community,” said Williams. “

Williams hopes the films and forums will help to raise awareness in the St. John community about the realities of addiction, she explained.

“Many people in our society do not understand the disease of alcoholism and some people have the belief that alcoholics can stop drinking without intervention or treatment,” said Williams. “The better educated we are, the better we are able to address the problem. In St. John, there are a lot of people who suffer with addiction and it affects the entire community.”

For more information about National Recovery Month, check out For more information about COAST and its September events, call the group at 775-1255.