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Turning Point officials along with Southaven Chamber of Commerce representatives helped cut the ribbon to open the new Wilderness Trails at the addiction treatment facility off Stateline Road.

Trails on more than 10 acres of heavily-wooded, secluded land just north of the Turning Point Recovery and Treatment Center campus were officially opened Friday with a ribbon cutting by the Southaven Chamber of Commerce as Turning Point officials and employees looked on.

Therapists and patients have already begun using the trails in group therapy sessions.

Dr. Theodore Bender, CEO of Turning Point, said the network of trails offer a peaceful, serene respite for patients seeking treatment from addiction.

"I think one of the best parts about that is the meditative component," said Bender. "There is a heavy focus on mindfulness and being meditative out here in these woods. You can get detached from the sensory-based world. Walking out in nature you can hear the sound of the insects buzzing, the birds chirping and feel the sticks and dirt underneath your feet. You are able to focus on being in the present, instead of dwelling upon what happened in the past. These 10 acres of woodlands can really expand our program."

Bender said within the next year, capital improvements will be made to the property, which he sees as an asset to Turning Point's addiction and recovery program.

Bender paid tribute to Turning Point's Director of Operations Stacy Dodd for helping to make the trails a reality.

"If Stacy imagines it, it will happen," Bender said. "No one has put more time, energy and passion into this project than Stacy."

For his part, Dodd said area corporate partners, such as the Southaven Chamber of Commerce, have been an instrumental part in promoting Turning Point's mission to serve those individuals affected by addiction.

"The Southaven Chamber has been amazing," Dodd said. "We have a good, healthy relationship with our city leaders, our Sheriff and all those who support Turning Point. We fly in people from all across the United States and they are amazed at what we have here."

"I'm a big fan of what they do here," said Carmen Kyle, Executive Director of the Southaven Chamber of Commerce.

Brett Martin, public relations manager for Turning Point's corporate office in Nashville, said the trails offer a positive route toward recovery.

"It's all about giving people hope," Martin said. "We show them there is hope in recovery."

Robert Lee Long is Community Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at rlong@desototimestribune.com or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.

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