Volleyball tourney celebrates people in recovery

Posted on Nov 16 2022


Team Aceholes and Chuukese and Cream pose for a photo after the Thankful for Recovery Volleyball Tournament held last Saturday at the Tronkun Da’ok Pavilion in Susupe. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

People who are in the midst of recovery from alcohol, drugs, and other addictions, together with their supporters and advocates, came together last Saturday at the Tronkun Da’ok Pavilion in Susupe for a volleyball tournament that celebrates their journey.

The “Thankful for Recovery” tournament was spearheaded by a person in recovery, Jun Santos, in collaboration with the recovery committee composed of Haggan/Woong United for Recovery, H.O.P.E Recovery Center, Substance Abuse, Addiction, and Rehabilitation Program, Community Guidance Center, and Women of Destiny, along with the Northern Mariana Islands Volleyball Association.

The five teams that competed include the Aceholes, Chuukese and Cream, Saaranara, Ninja Woong, and DCP, with team Aceholes coming out with the first-place prize sponsored by the recovery centers.

Santos, who is now a volunteer at the H.O.P.E Recovery Center, said he started coordinating an event “originally to just kind of celebrate my one year sobriety because I’ve never done that before…but when I was coordinating this, I realized that I didn’t make it this far with my sobriety all alone. So I just decided that since it’s November and Thanksgiving is coming up, that I’m just going to coordinate this as a recovery Thanksgiving for people in recovery.”

He also shared his struggle with addiction and ongoing one year recovery story during the tournament. He was incarcerated, but upon release he was able to get the help he needed and reached out to the CGC.  He went through 10 months of outpatient treatment but had several relapses, “so I decided to try out residential treatment at H.O.P.E Recovery Center, but I relapsed the once when I went out. …The last two days that I was drunk and high on meth was on Nov. 6 and Nov. 7, [2021].”

Santos said that for about a year now, he’s been providing volleyball equipment to their physical recovery days every Monday, Wednesday and Sunday. People in recovery come out to play volleyball at Micro Beach on Monday and at the pavilion in Susupe on Wednesday. On Sunday, they play softball.

“I really believe that having a lot of these physical [activities] help us to stay busy, to have fun, and to stay connected in recovery so that we don’t go back. …A lot of us are used to being on meth all the time, losing so much weight, barely eat[ing], but now we’re in recovery, we’re gaining body weight so I think without all of these physical stuff that we do, we’d probably be fatter,” said Santos about the importance of physical recovery in their recovery process.

Jashlie C. Reyes, peer lead coordinator at the Haggan/Woong United for Recovery, said of the event that “most of the people playing are people in recovery right now and the supporters and staff from different recovery agencies. It’s nice, it’s fun. Everybody comes out and gets together with their family members and friends. We just unite as one, no matter what recovery center they’re from. So, it’s a good experience; it brings everybody together.”

Throughout the day, participants also held a potluck—a sober one with no alcohol, just food and nonalcoholic beverages.

Leigh Gases
Leigh Gases is the youngest reporter of Saipan Tribune and primarily covers community related news, but she also handles the utilities, education, municipal, and veterans beats. Contact Leigh at

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