'We build families': BC slow-pitch softball tournament highlights addiction recovery community - BC | Globalnews.ca

The annual Bat Festival in Burnaby, British Columbia Addiction Recovery Softball tournament on Saturday.

The sporting event, called Summer Slam Slow Pitch Softball, features 28 teams comprised of players in recovery from drug addiction.

The tournament began in 2016 and is hosted by Together We Can, a Canadian nonprofit addiction treatment services provider.

“This is the largest restorative baseball tournament in the nation. Slow pitch softball is an opportunity to build friendships and community,” said Stacey Wilson, executive director of Together We Can.

“It’s building bonds and putting mortar into the foundation of recovery.”

Wilson said for some people, especially those who may not have family or are estranged from family, it’s an opportunity for people to come together and build relationships with people who understand each other and work through the issues they’re facing.

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“We build families. We are all family, all in this together.”

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Drug addiction recovery success stories

One of those athletes was Rob Slater, who a few years ago formed a team called the Devil's Rejects.

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“(The team) is for guys who are new to basketball and just learning to get back into shape. I just try to help them the best I can,” Slater told Global News.

Slater said his addiction began as a teenager and his road to recovery began in his mid-twenties.

“I’m 40 now. Recovery balls were a very important part of my recovery process,” he said.

“It keeps me connected with people and makes me feel like I’m part of a community. When you’re addicted to drugs you’re lost and feel alone.

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“In this community … you feel a sense of solidarity.”

The competition will take place all weekend at the Riverway Sports Centre in Burnaby.

This is an event for the whole family, and participants are encouraged to bring everyone along for two days of festive fun.

Other events at the championships include face painting, a bouncy castle and a hot dog eating contest.

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