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1001 Nights: Gala Recap


Nichols Center hosted the first annual 1001 Nights: an Exotic Journey in Recovery Gala Saturday, January 15th, 2022 at the Cultural Arts Center. Nichols Center: Families of Recovery is a nonprofit 501C3 (#46-3906114) connecting families with mental illness or substance abuse disorders to walk in recovery. Celebrating 8 years of mental health and recovery services for Douglas County, our community resource center and living gift shop serves families in Douglas County and West Georgia.

“8 years ago, our family existed in a fractured state of depression and dysfunction. Serving the families of Douglas County has helped focus our grief towards hope and given us a new purpose. I will forever be grateful to the families that have walked with us on our journey towards healing through recovery and service.” – Tara Nichols, LPC CEO

The night transported guests to the Arabian desert decorated in Moroccan and Persian themes. Every corner of the Cultural Arts Center held authentic pieces from these countries and beautiful exotic plants from the Nichols Center Plant Shop. The Sultan’s banquet was catered by Christ Cutz, Catering. The plates boasted of Spiced Moroccan Chicken, Shawarma, Couscous, and stuffed peppers with Jeweled Rice. In keeping with our values of sobriety, an exotic tea bar presented by Energy Lab Bar, provided the guests with mock-tail mojitos and elderberry sea moss tea. The night began with live Pianist Pollock, a wonderful live auction. Honorable Judge Peggy H Walker, retired, spoke of the incredible importance of trauma informed mental health and substance use treatment opportunities. Her longstanding support of the Nichols Center rang true as she spoke of the innovative therapeutic programs the center offers for people seeking treatment and support. (Full video available on our website)

“I believe that everyone should have the chance to achieve recovery and it is our job as members of the community to give them that chance to do so and Nichols Center is certainly one of those importance places in our community.”

“95% of juveniles referred to us had parent with a substance use issue. Substance use isn't the only issue that presents itself. We have many people with substance abuse issues, 2/3 of those also had a mental health diagnosis. If we can’t treat both simultaneously we can’t be successful.”

“It is important for us to build that long term trust in places like the Nichols Center, because you have to be able to heal form the trauma before you can address the substance abuse.”

“Some people can’t find the words to tell you what they have experienced. And it is our job to find ways to help them heal and however it is that we need to do that. We have to be on the cutting edge and that is where the Nichols Center is. They are already understanding that healing can come from movement, healing can come from meditation, healing can come from yoga. Those are the ways that we are just coming to understand that can rewire the brain from those traumatic events.”

Stories of hope and healing share by Nichols Center families that have been actively involved with the Nichols Center over the last 8 years of service. Each volunteer presented awards and recognition for the community individuals that supported their journey with the Nichols Center. Judge Peggy Walker was presented with the Hero of Recovery award for her tireless efforts to save families in recovery. Christian Burrell a graduate of the Family Treatment Court and 7 year veteran of the Nichols Center: Families of Recovery program presented the award as she shared her story of reunification and hope. (Full video available on our website)

Honorable Judge Cynthia Adams was presented with the Growing Recovery Award from Mental Health Court Graduate Teddy Wilding. Mr. Wilding shared his survivor story from a suicide attempt that ended in legal charges. The Mental Health HOPE Court team fought to bring Mr. Wilding into their program and through their support he has been able to restore so much of his life. Mr. Wilding has been a lead volunteer at the Nichols Center to bring NAMI services to the community. (Full video available on our website)

Tim Prewett, Douglas Felony Drug Court Administrator and Director, was honored with the Torch award for lighting the way for recovery in our community. Though he was not able to attend the event, Eddie Clay, from the first graduating class shared his story. The Clay family was able to find support in recovery through the Nichols Center. (Full video available on our website)

The event was closed by one of the newest peer volunteers to join the Nichols Center team. Rodney Williams and his wife Jacquelyn have been living and working in Douglas County. Mr. Williams shared how his story of childhood trauma shaped his life towards incarceration and compound PTSD. When Mr. Williams stopped by the Nichols Center to lend a hand, he found a safe place to begin unpacking the trauma. “I was able to assimilate but not heal. What Tara did was give me the ability to heal and take it a step further and reach back and help others.” Rodney Williams (Full video available on our website)

Programs that are made possible by the contributions to the Nichols Center fundraising events have allowed the center to provide meaningful services to families in need at no cost. Here are some of the programs that we offer: Weekly NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) Peer support groups for families with mental illness. Free support groups for families and individuals walking in recovery such as Women’s Wellness group, Art Journaling, Yoga, Movement Based Therapy through Belly Dance, and more. Our Guardians Group: Veterans and First Responders support group meets monthly on the 4th Wednesday and First Responders Breakfast on the first Monday of the month. Nichols Center continues to spearhead Suicide Intervention Trainings in Douglas County to turn the tide on suicide. We offer ongoing support to the community Accountability Courts to provide mental health medications and other basic needs for participants. We also work to create awareness and reduce the stigma for mental health and substance use disorders through community events and fundraisers.

We are so grateful for all of your love and support. We can't wait for next year!

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