When Amy Greene left Grand Forks for Kamloops in 2008, she didn't intend to stay.
She came for a 28-day substance abuse recovery program at the Phoenix Centre. Kamloops was her best option because she didn't want to recover in a big city like Vancouver and she doesn't like Kelowna, she said Saturday.
"I wanted to stay in the Interior. I thought I'd come to Kamloops because this is the closest recovery community to Grand Forks," said Greene.
At the time, she'd been an addict for about two years. She didn't know she was a month pregnant with her son, Gordon, who is now four.
Greene was overwhelmed and more than a little intimidated. The thought of being clean terrified her because everything she knew would change.
"When you actually get clean, you're scared. You're scared of what might happen. You're scared because you don't know what you're going to do," she said. "Everything is going to change. The people you're around, your family."
On Saturday, she joined a couple dozen recovered addicts and representatives of community groups for the city's first Recovery Day event in Riverside Park.
With her son seated on her lap, Greene said she will be clean two years in December. It was not an easy road to travel, but worth it.
When she found out she was pregnant, Greene was more excited than scared, she said.
"I was previously told I had cancer of the cervix and that I couldn't have kids," she said. "Given my life situation, I wasn't discouraged at all. I was ready to make a change. I was happy."
She remained in treatment longer than 28 days, then slowly got back on her feet, staying at safe places and supported by mentors with the Kamloops Family Tree Family Centre.
Greene bought her first home this year and is doing well, she said. She likes Kamloops.
Providing people with an event like Recovery Day, where the intention is to shed the stigma associated with substance abuse, is a great idea, she said. If Greene had her way, there would be more than one event a year.
"But it's a start," she said.
Recovery Day got underway at 2 p.m. at the bandshell. There was live music, barbecued hotdogs and displays by the community groups that aid addicts in their journey to get clean.
Coun. Marg Spina read a City proclamation declaring Sept. 7 as Recovery Day.
Co-organizer Heather Cooke said Recovery Day is a way to support and celebrate people who have overcome substance abuse.
"If we celebrate and have pride, recovery will be a lot easier to go through," said Cooke.
The first Recovery Day was held in Vancouver in 2012. Events were held across Canada during the weekend.