Friends, ­­­­

September is National Recovery Month; a nationwide observance held each year to educate the public that when the right supports and services are made available for those who suffer from addiction and mental health issues, people can and do recover. This year’s theme, Join the Voices for Recovery: Strengthen Families and Communities highlights the value of family and community support through recovery and invites individuals and their families to share their stories of hope and healing.

Across New York, we celebrate the everyday miracles that happen as a result of investments in recovery. In doing so, we acknowledge the reality that like other chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes and asthma, improvements in health and wellness are not only achievable – but happening all around us. Our willingness to step outside and share this reality reinforces the positive message of the power and promise that recovery brings to millions of individuals and families in New York, and that prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do get better.

We know that 23.5 million Americans are living transformed lives because someone extended their hand and shared their personal story. Yet much of the public remains unaware of our successes. By stepping out and celebrating recovery through the many Recovery Month events that are being hosted around the state, we are providing the opportunity for everyone to celebrate recovery. This month, thousands of prevention, treatment and recovery allies are celebrating with us, speaking out about the miracle of recovery, and sharing stories of healing with friends, family members, and community members.  In doing so, we are helping to humanize recovery by increasing awareness and breaking down the stigma and discrimination that surrounds addiction and mental health issues. We are organizing by stepping out of the shadows in solidarity with those seeking recovery. And we are mobilizing locally to create a greater understanding that recovery is both achievable and sustainable for individuals, families, and communities.

Our decision makers are paying attention. The education and advocacy work that we are doing together – highlighting the achievements of those who are given the opportunity to reclaim lives of dignity in sustained recovery – is expanding and improving the availability of resources for our community. Just this month, Governor Cuomo announced the grant award for the creation of a youth and young adult statewide recovery network. FOR-NY is honored to be joined by our partners Road Recovery and HFM Prevention Council to support young leaders in their efforts to establish a statewide recovery community organization that will be designed and implemented by young people. This grant is part of the Governor’s rollout of $25.2 million of federal funding made available through the 21st Century Cures Act designed to increase access prevention, treatment and recovery support services that many of you actively participated in advocating for. You can read more about the award in this month’s youth column here. In addition, your advocacy around the need to support young people in their recovery resulted in a recent Request For Information (RFI) regarding implementing Recovery High Schools in New York State.

In less than two weeks, on October 1st & 2nd, we will be coming together from across the state to celebrate recovery at the 2017 New York State Recovery Conference. Our excitement is growing as we prepare for our 2nd annual event that will be held this year at the Albany Capital Center. The two day event will feature inspiring speakers, workshops, live music and performance art, networking events, and exhibits. In addition, we will be celebrating the 14th Annual Recovery Arts Festival Awards and hosting a screening and panel discussion on the documentary “Reversing the Stigma.” We hope that you’ve already registered for the conference, but if not, you can do so here. We look forward to having you celebrate recovery with us.

Our strength lies in being visible, viable and vocal. By standing together, and nurturing and supporting each other through Recovery Month (and beyond) we are furthering the recovery movement, we are making it possible for others to come out of the shadows and claim their rightful place as productive members of society. It is a joy to be on this journey with you.

Stephanie Campbell