GR mission’s ‘Sober Bowl’ takes focus off alcohol

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Monday morning may be a struggle for people who partied too hard for the Big Game, but festive cocktails and beer weren’t a part of one West Michigan watch party.

Guiding Light Mission in Grand Rapids held a “Sober Bowl” event on Sunday.

The mission helps men overcome substance and alcohol abuse issues.

“The drinking or drug use has become kind of their fun and also their first response to just life in some ways,” Brian Elve, the recovery program director, said.

Elve said the Big Game doesn’t have to be synonymous with drinking. That’s why the mission provided food and TVs for the event. There was no alcohol, making it a more comfortable space for men in recovery. 

Daniel Lenger graduated from the recovery program last year. He said he mainly struggled with alcohol, but after seven months, he learned his life was worth more than that.

“There’s not one thing that I miss about alcohol,” Lenger told 24 Hour News 8.

Lenger said that once he realized life isn’t perfect and that he controls how to handle its curveballs, he was able to make a change.

“It was the best thing I’ve ever done with my life because it actually taught me who I was,” Lenger said.

“It produces so much inspiration for the men who are currently here to have Dan come back and kind of share that good news about what’s going on in his life,” Elve said.

Lenger’s “good news” includes a recent job promotion, to Elve said.

Lenger told 24 Hour News 8 that he wants to encourage everyone that recovery is possible.

“Life goes on and life doesn’t have to be about addiction,” he said. “We get together. We have (a) good time. We have good food. We’re having a ball tonight.”

“For them to be able to do something that is fun and have a good time and be able to have a real conversation with somebody and remember it the next day and not be hungover and start a new type of habit is very powerful,” Elve said.

Guiding Light offers its services for free.

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