Commentary: Faces and Voices of Recovery: Rally for Recovery!

When advocates from across the country came together in 2001 to found Faces & Voices of Recovery, a call to action stated, “for too long, a great majority of the community – those in recovery, their families and allies – have been silent about their experiences and successes.” An organized recovery community was absent from the public policy debate. Society and lawmakers weren’t aware of the more than 20 million Americans in long-term recovery.

By our silence we let others define us. The growing grassroots involvement of identifiable and mobilized networks of recovery communities and allied organizations fosters collaboration, advocacy and public education about the reality of addiction recovery. Each September, as part of National Recovery Month, Faces & Voices works with local community organizations and our national planning partners to host Rally for Recovery! events that combine the celebration and honor of recovery with advocacy and education. Last year, events in Japan and England, showed signs of a growing international recovery movement.

Philadelphia’s Mayor Michael Nutter, New York’s former Governor David Patterson, Congressmen Eric Cantor (R-VA) and David Cicilline (D-RI) are just a few of the many elected and appointed officials who are aligning themselves with a mobilized recovery community that votes and has a public policy agenda. They are recognizing the growth and development of a new constituency of consequence that uses organizing tools like rallies and walks to register voters and educate candidates for public office. As Americans develop a sound appreciation of recovery, there is understanding that it’s a process that takes time and support. Laws and policies can be effectively changed to reduce discrimination and lower barriers to aid and services.

Philadelphia’s Recovery Walks! is this year’s National “hub” event for walks, rallies, picnics, workshops and other activities around the country. Pennsylvania Recovery Organization – Achieving Community Together (PRO-ACT), the event sponsor, has charted a course that will take participants past the Liberty Bell, symbolizing freedom from addiction for individuals and families across the nation. Many of the walkers will be part of the “Honor Guard,” signifying over ten years of recovery, offering hope to those still struggling or newly in recovery.

Visitors to Faces & Voices Rally for Recovery! online can document and tally their years of recovery to illustrate it is possible. Rally for Recovery! is one part of realizing our vision that individuals, families and communities affected by alcohol and other drugs have universal access to the support needed to achieve recovery, health, wellness and civic engagement.

Pat Taylor
Executive Director
Faces & Voices of Recovery

One Response to Commentary: Faces and Voices of Recovery: Rally for Recovery!

  1. Mona Lisa | July 13, 2011 at 8:51 am

    “By our silence we let others define us.” Yes, but have you considered that by insisting that we phrase our experiences in a particular way, you may be contributing to further silencing? Many of us have not used 12 step approaches in overcoming our addictions, so why are we asked to refer to ourselves as being “in recovery” or as “recovered alcoholics/addicts”–terminology that is unique to 12 step? A person who quit drinking on his or her own (as many do!) or who used another approach (such as a secular group, i.e. SMART) is not going to view themselves in this way and will be eliminated from the conversation. Is this really what you want?

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