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‘Recovery To Go’ Presents MADD New Year’s Eve Benefit

Local Comedians to Perform

Wednesday, Dec. 8 brought about two more incidents of drunk drivers speeding the wrong way down major Long Island highways, which has led to a total of five such occurrences happening within a month’s time and yet another tragic unnecessary death. Drunk driving is no laughing matter, but laughter can be a key ingredient for people wanting to make a change for the better.

The Long Island based comedy group Recovery To Go (RTG) has decided to stage its first major event as an alcohol free New Year’s Eve celebration to benefit MADD Long Island.

The show will be held at the Showplace at Bellmore at 222 Pettit Avenue in Bellmore on Friday, Dec. 31 at 10 p.m. The show will feature the high energy, honest and hilarious Jessica Kirson, who nearly lost a sister because of a drunk-driving accident. Kirson has been seen on the Tonight Show, Last Comic Standing and Comedy Central.

Joining Kirson on the bill will be RTG’s founders Cara Amore of Bellmore, Robert Cividanes of Seaford, and Keith Godwin of Levittown.

“We’re going to rock the house New Year’s Eve and leave people thirsty for more,” said Amore.

This New Year’s celebration has an even greater meaning for Amore because 2011 will mark her 20th year removed from a life of substance abuse.

“Not only does MADD do a great job in raising awareness, but their staff and volunteers reached out to me and my family in our time of loss; it makes me even more grateful to help their cause,” Amore said.

RTG staging this event to benefit MADD adds extra sentiment because she lost a brother in-law four years ago. A drunk driver killed him while he was crossing the street.

“You can’t throw enough of a spotlight on this problem,” said Cividanes, who is also Long Island’s Funniest Person Contest runner up.

Cividanes is now 17 years sober and, these days, gets his highs from performing in drug/alcohol treatment facilities, crisis centers and anywhere where he can give back.

That goes the same for all RTG members, especially Levittown native Godwin.

‘Just Plain Keith’ is Godwin’s performance name, but there’s nothing plain about him. He is an Island Trees graduate, former marine and seven years removed from being a substance abuser.

One of his final moments before reaching out for sobriety was losing his right hand in a car accident. He didn’t let that or anything from his troubled past bring him down. Instead he started doing comedy to relieve his soul by bringing laughter to others.

Meeting Cividanes and Amore on the local circuit led to the formation of Recovery To Go (RTG). In the past year they have done a lot of work in bringing smiles and laughter to people contending with their darkest hours in rehab facilities.

“It’s going to be a fantastic way for someone just starting in recovery to safely celebrate their New Year’s. If there was anything like this when I first got sober I didn’t know about it and I wish there was,” said Cividanes.

There will be a midnight toast, but ginger ale will replace the champagne. Showtime is at 10 p.m. Admission is $25 in advance, or $35 at the door. Student and veteran discounts are available. For more information visit www.recoverytogo.org or call (516) 783-7200.