Spotlight on National Recovery Month

By Angie Carter, CRADC, SAP

National Recovery Month: September is National Recovery Month and the time of year where local and national organizations shine a spotlight on the addiction recovery movement in an ongoing effort to advocate their message of hope that recovery from addiction/alcoholism is possible. We are very fortunate to have some very dedicated advocates in our own community. I recently spoke with two individuals about the organizations they belonged to and the importance of their work.

addiction Recovery

National Recovery Month 2012

Brenda Schell who is the Executive Director of the Missouri Recovery Network shared some thoughts about MRN.

What is the purpose or function of the Missouri Recovery Network?

Missouri Recovery Network is the statewide recovery advocacy organization- the Voice for Recovery. Since 1999, the MRN has been mobilizing the recovery community to speak out in order to help shape public attitudes, policies, and opportunities for those in recovery and/or seeking recovery. MRN’s key priorities are to:

  • Improve public understanding of addiction and recovery
  • Hangovers, headaches and being sick
  • Improve access to services and eliminate barriers to recovery and help promote a statewide recovery oriented system of care (ROSC)
  • Reduce stigma and discrimination
  • Put a face and voice on recovery
  • Cultivate and empower recovery leaders/advocates
  • Provide recovery resources
  • Advocate at the local, state and national levels in an effort to create positive environments that support individuals in recovery, those seeking recovery, and their families

Why do you have such a passion for the Recovery Movement?

No one plans to become an addict or alcoholic. Helping people understand that addiction is an illness and that it should be treated as just that, not a moral weakness is important to me. I love engaging and empowering individuals in recovery to speak up and not to feel shamed. Recovery is hard work!

Why should any individual (whether addicted or not) get involved and become a member of the Missouri Recovery Network?

If you’re not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. We need to provide encouragement and support to those suffering and to understand that recovery is a process. Supporting public policy that advocates for recovery treatment and ongoing services benefits us as individuals and as a community. The financial burden alone of untreated addiction is staggering, not to mention the human cost. Addiction does not discriminate by race, age, or economic status, it can affect anyone. The MRN puts a face and voice on recovery to show that recovery is possible and real by participating in National Recpovery Month and other such events. Addiction destroys lives and recovery rebuilds lives!

Judie Didriksen is the Regional Representative of Faces and Voices of Recovery (Favor) whose mission is dedicated to organizing and mobilizing the over 20 million Americans in recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs, our families, friends and allies into recovery community organizations and networks, to promote the right and resources to recover through advocacy, education and demonstrating the power and proof of long-term recovery

What about your recovery makes you unique to the Faces and Voices board?

My position on the board of directors is unique because I am the only member of the board who represents family members. It has been both educational and enlightening for the existing board members to begin to see things from the point of view of the affected family member. Services for the family members were almost nonexistent until the past few years. Today there are community organizations which incorporate programs for family members who may need educational and recovery tools to improve their lives as well as coping skills to deal with loved ones who are in active addiction.

What kinds of legislation is Faces & Voices advocating for?

What kinds of legislation is Faces & Voices advocating for? Faces and Voices was very instrumental in passing the national legislation for mental health/addiction health coverage parity which is called the Wellstone/Domenici Law. This law has been incorporated into the Affordable Care Act and ensures that individuals with mental health and addiction are treated equitably and fairly with people with any other kind of disease. They also work to support other legislation which will have a positive impact on getting individuals in recovery fair treatment and benefits such as fair treatment for housing and education.

What kinds of legislation is Faces & Voices advocating for?

Faces and Voices was very instrumental in passing the national legislation for mental health/addiction health coverage parity which is called the Wellstone/Domenici Law. This law has been incorporated into the Affordable Care Act and ensures that individuals with mental health and addiction are treated equitably and fairly with people with any other kind of disease. They also work to support other legislation which will have a positive impact on getting individuals in recovery fair treatment and benefits such as fair treatment for housing and education.

What are some of the events Faces & Voices are involved in on a national level?

Faces and Voices supports celebration activities such as National Recovery Month, in fact Missouri was chosen as the national hub event a few years ago and we held the national event in St. Louis. They also developed a campaign called Recovery Voices Count which is designed to get individuals in recovery registered as voters and involved in their community/state/national elections. They have training courses in Recovery Language, the Science of Addiction Academy, Recovery Oriented Systems of Care and other recovery trainings. They have a national association of recovery community organizations and provide technical assistance and training to any group who is interested in establishing a recovery community organization.

It is a privilege to know and work with these individuals who have dedicated so much energy and efforts to such an important and necessary cause. Recovery is real... there is hope and there is help.

About the Author

Angie Carter, CRADC, SAP is a certified reciprocal alcohol and drug counselor and DOT certified Substance Abuse Professional. She is in private practice at Carter Counseling & Consulting Services. Angie sees local clients in office and is also available for telephone coaching and/or consultation. Click here to contact Angie with appointment requests, questions, or feedback.

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