After several years of working with Friends of Recovery-New York (FOR-NY), first as Director of Policy and now as Executive Director, I am leaving to pursue a new opportunity that will be announced in the near future. I am so grateful for what we have done, having created an intelligent and powerful statewide recovery community organization. FOR-NY will continue to expand its’ capacity to fulfill its mission, connected infrastructure of vocal and proud people who stand together to represent the inspiring faces and voices of recovery.
From the beginning of my tenure at FOR-NY in 2015, I have been blessed by working with you – the incredible team at FOR-NY and our committed board members, the hundreds of volunteers in local Recovery Community Organizations (RCOs) that have blossomed across New York State. I am proud of the relationships we’ve developed with our state and national lawmakers, the team at OASAS, and our friends across the state dedicated to the thousands of individuals impacted by substance use disorder. The respect I feel for this recovery family – for what you do to make FOR-NY’s mission a reality is immeasurable.
We are changing the way that state and local communities respond to the chronic illness of substance use disorder. Just this week, I witnessed Bethany Bump, a journalist from the Albany Times Union, receive an award for the outstanding reporting she’s done in covering the pandemic. During her acceptance speech, Bethany said that the conversations she’s had with members of the recovery community have changed the way she’s reported on the public health emergency. “You have impressed upon me the awesome responsibility that journalists have,” she said. “We must not only report on the horrors of addiction, but on the stories of hope that recovery is possible.”
Over the past few years, FOR-NY has reshaped the discussion of addiction and recovery. We are changing negative public perception surrounding this illness by winning the hearts and minds of decision makers across New York State and exposing the discrimination that bars countless people from attaining and sustaining recovery – not only for those who have been diagnosed with substance use disorder, but also for the families striving to help their loved ones.
I am grateful for the leadership of OASAS Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez and her commitment to recovery. Under her stewardship, and with the support of Governor Cuomo and our legislative allies, New York State is leading the nation in expanding prevention, treatment and recovery support services. OASAS General Counsel Robert Kent tirelessly crosses the state in support of the Commissioner’s vision, and is one of our fiercest advocates for change. Together, with the team at OASAS, communities across the state are being provided with prevention, treatment and recovery support services.
Over the past year, I have had the honor of working with Allison Weingarten, Director of Policy at FOR-NY. I am fully confident that as Interim Executive Director, she will intelligently and forcefully lead FOR-NY during the transition. I am also confident that you will provide her the same respect and support that you have always given me.
I will provide details of my new position in the coming weeks. Having had an extremely fulfilling experience at FOR-NY, it is now time for me to continue my advocacy efforts in the next chapter of my professional life. My passion for and commitment to recovery and FOR-NY will remain. In my next role, I look forward to continuing my support of FOR-NY’s mission and uphold our commitment to advance public policies and practices that support recovery. Stay the course, Dear Ones, and know that your courage and perseverance is saving lives.