A local sports coach is calling for community support to help realize a Drug and Alcohol Awareness Day centered around substance abuse awareness, recovery alternatives and sober fun for local youth.
“We, as a community, have the chance to show our youth how much we care about the choices they make,” said Bishop Union High School head varsity baseball coach Tim Reid, the event organizer who has been clean and sober “going on 20.”
Drug and Alcohol Awareness Day will start at noon Saturday, Dec. 8, “which is real nice,” said Reid, “since people can come on over after the Christmas parade” being held on Main Street in Bishop. Though the all-day event is not a school-sponsored event, Bishop Unified School District Superintendent Barry Simpson has given Reid the greenlight to hold it on the football field. Aside from letting kids know that they can have fun sober, Reid said his objective is to let them know, from personal experience, where substance abuse can lead, what it can end up costing them and that if they develop a problem, there is a way out.
Reid said he is seeking help from the community because often, that’s where addiction problems start. “If you are of age and you choose to consume alcohol, that is your right. What is not your right and (what) is illegal, is to purchase alcohol for anyone under the age of 21. There is a lot of this going on in our community and we need to be proactive and start turning in the ‘buyers.’ (And) there are some very scary substances being sold to our youth by people that could care less what happens after they sell their poison,” said Reid.
Reid has an all-encompassing vision for the substance abuse awareness event – everyone is invited. He expressed gratitude for the wide-ranging commitments he has received thus far. Owens Valley Career Development Center’s Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program; Rev. Caddy Jackson and Spirit of Recovery; Fourth District Supervisor-elect Mark Tillemans; Western Nevada Supply; Broncos Boosters Club; and the local CHP have offered their participation. It’s a good start, said Reid, but he is hoping more people will get involved.
The Kris Hohag and Jose Jiminez bands will volunteer “their time and their talents” to perform “clean rap, stuff the kids really like,” said the coach. Reid will give his right arm for the event, literally. “I will offer my right arm to throw batting practice all day to anyone that wants to hit balls off the gym.”
Reid’s dedication to this project comes from dearly-earned experience. “Alcohol is not harmless,” said Reid. and “can lead to a horrible addiction that ruins young lives.” The Bishop native got his “first taste of drugs and alcohol right here.” At age 12, he took his first drink and at 14, his first drug. During his freshman year, at an assembly, Reid recalled taking the famous Johns Hopkins “20 Questions” addiction quiz along with his peers. Reid scored pretty high – no pun intended.
Reid said he knew then that he had a problem, but Reid was 30 years old before he hit his bottom and by then, he’d lost a lot. “I drank away a professional baseball career … I was headed somewhere big and I screwed it up … If I would not have quit, there were only two options left for me – death or prison.”
At Drug and Alcohol Awareness Day, Reid and other recovered substance abusers will tell the stories of their descent into addiction, their climb back out and how recovery programs, friends, family and the community helped, “how much better their lives have become,” explained Reid, who plans to offer an open mic to anyone who would care to share their recovery story.
Coach has seen success stories among his players, too, ones that started with sharing honestly. “Two or three years ago, a kid got in trouble with weed and quit the team. He went to rehab” and with his parents’ support, he returned to the team. “He didn’t know my story. I told him, about the time I was 16 years sober. He’s doing well, still clean. That’s the kind of story that the community needs to hear, too,” Reid said.
“By the grace of God and some amazing support, I am still here,” explained Reid. Friends, even the ones still using, “encouraged me, never offered me anything. My family was a huge support.” Reid’s father had gotten sober 12 years before his son did. “I watched how much more fun he was having than when he was drinking, how much more rapport he had with people … Even when I was still drinking, I thought, ‘I want to be like him, he’s having a ball.’”
Law enforcement and probation officers who had witnessed Reid’s addiction progress, “were always encouraging. They knew I had it in me … I am still here and my passion in life is to help kids and young adults not take that bumpy road I did in life.”
Reid welcomes law enforcement, school and church groups, the medical/mental health community, recovery programs and 12-step groups to participate. He encourages food vendors and informational booths to come set up on the field. Reid needs food item donations, too. Western Nevada Supply will donate a barbecue to be raffled off and 10 cases of water and “that’s just the beginning,” he said.
“I’d like to make it a biannual thing,” said Reid, but for this first event, “most of all, I would love to see all families, from Death Valley to Bridgeport, come and support the youth of our community … I believe we can make a difference.”
Reid invites anyone to call him at (760) 937-0208 to find out how they can get involved to “make this event huge … And if people have other ideas, I’d love to hear them.”