LIMA — All the rainy days could not prevent a great ending to Positive Addictions Week.
For the first time in the program’s 34 years, the popular 5K run had to be canceled due to the constant rain that caused flooding along the route. However, keynote speaker Diana Patton gave a riveting presentation that resonated with students from St. Rose, St Gerard, St. Charles and Lima Central Catholic schools.
Patton, a motivational speaker, attorney and author, told her story of growing up with a black mother and a white father. Events in her family’s past included drug addiction, a suicide attempt, racism and sexual molestation.
“I wish in 1983, an event like this would have came to my school in Fostoria,” Patton said, “because I was struggling.”
Patton was born in 1968, a time when black/white relationships were frowned upon. Her father was a drug addict. An older sister ran away at the age of 17 after being molested by her father since she was eight years old. Another sibling tried to commit suicide, and her father tried to improperly touch Patton when she was 14.
“I pushed him away,” Patton said. “I remember when I was eight, always seeing my mom crying and I didn’t understand why then. I always felt a knot in my stomach though, even when things were going well. We were always waiting for the bomb to go off.”
Patton said she had an out: joining every sport she could. She said running and trust in God helped her get through the dark times.
“I always visualized in my head, ‘Even though I walk through the dark valley, God is with me,’” Patton said. “At 14, that is where I was.”
After her parents separated and got back together several times, they finally divorced for good the day Patton left for the University of Toledo. However, she recalled notes her mother would put in her running shoes before each meet.
“They would have message like ‘You can do all things through Jesus Christ,’” Patton said. “I would run with those notes in my shoes. They became my positive addiction.”
Patton said that it was running and faith in God that kept her sane.
“I am living proof you can get through ‘it,’ whatever ‘it’ is,” Patton said.
The Positive Addiction Program is a drug and alcohol awareness and prevention program that originated at St. Charles School in 1983 with Mary Brinkman and Diana Ireland. All the students receive intense education concerning drugs and alcohol. Special workshops are held for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students. They attend workshops focusing on careers, self-image and relationships with others. Workshops also cover positive addictions or alternatives such as tennis, golf, Jujitzu, dance, conditioning, cross-fit and Zumba.
In 1984, St. Gerard and St. Rose Schools in Lima joined the celebration. Lima Central Catholic joined in 1995.