I am person in long term recovery, meaning I haven’t used alcohol or drugs in over 23 years. When I started on my recovery journey, there was no “recovery movement” and we did not talk about being in recovery. We were silent. Today, I am proud to be a part of the ever-growing recovery movement in our country.
On October 4, 2015, I had the opportunity to attend the first ever UNITE to Face Addiction Rally at the base of the Washington Monument in Washington, DC. And the message at the rally was loud and clear—recovery is real! As I stood with tens of thousands of other people in recovery, and who support recovery, listening to Joe Walsh sing and Dr. Oz talk, I was moved to tears. I was filled with joy and gratitude, for I am, indeed, one of the fortunate ones. My tears continued to fall as I thought about the brave people I saw walking around the rally with photos of people who have died from the disease of addiction. The rally has had a lasting impact on me; it furthered my resolve to keep fighting for us and for recovery.
Thanks to my recovery, I can now work at SAMHSA and spend my days with a top notch group of people who are committed to promoting the reality of recovery, increasing access to treatment and support services, and supporting states and communities with substance abuse prevention efforts.
Those in recovery were once silent, but for me and many others, the silence has ended. I am sure the UNITE to Face Addiction rally was just the beginning and I, and SAMHSA, are proud for having been a part.