Recovered addicts show talentPublished 5:02pm Saturday, August 17, 2013
Glenville-Emmons High School student Jaclyn Weitzel has done some things she’s not proud of.
While undergoing treatment last year for a chemical dependency addiction, she ran away from the facility.
But it was in that instance, she said, that she realized how important her family is to her and she began working to turn her life around.
Now, as she prepares for school to begin, Weitzel has been sober for more than a year.
“To me, it’s not about what I did, but it’s what I’m doing now,” she said.
The 18-year-old, who has played the guitar for seven or eight years, wowed a crowd of at least 125 people Friday night at Crossroad’s Evangelical Church.
She was one of several participants to perform as part of Recovery’s Got Talent, a showcase of the voices and talents of people in recovery from alcohol and drug addictions.
She brought the crowd to her feet and some even to tears with a rendition of “Hate Me” by Blue October, whose lead singer is in a recovery of his own.
Jack Wittkopp, a chemical supervisor in both Albert Lea and Austin, who was the emcee, said the purpose of the event was to showcase a positive self image and counter the negative stigma of drug and alcohol addiction.
“We’re trying to bring awareness,” said Tiffany Witter, one of the judges. “There’s much more than this disease they’re battling. There’s talent. There’s beauty.”
Eight acts performed during the show, and Witter, Mark “Sparky” Wachlin and Lee Zuniga rated each act on stage presence, technical ability, creative expression and originality and entertainment.
Many of the acts had crowds clapping along and cheering. Some even received standing ovations.
There was everything from singing and playing the guitar, to freestyle and even an interpretive dance.
The Albert Lea show was one of three preliminary rounds being held across southern Minnesota. Another show was in Mankato Aug. 2, and one is scheduled for Sept. 6 in Zumbro Falls.
The top three people from each location will move on to the finale at Daybreak Community Church in Owatonna on Sept. 20.
Moving on from Albert Lea are Weitzel, songwriter Rich Dufour, who sang and played the guitar to an original song, and Jacob Lorenz, who performed “Wonderwall” by Oasis.
Dufour, who said he has been sober for 113 days, said he has been writing music for about 10 years. He told the audience before singing that he makes it one day at a time.
The song he performed was one his counselor asked him to write about recovery.
“Drug addiction affects a lot of people,” Dufour said.
He said he has a long way to go in his treatment, but he hopes to someday go to college to become a wind turbine technician.