As I experience this Holiday Season I take time to reflect on the past year. For those of us who have experienced the power of recovery from addiction, we feel gratitude and joy. For family members with loved ones still struggling with addiction, it can be a time of stress, sprinkled with moments of hope. And for those who have lost a loved one, the holidays are often a time of relived loss but with remembrance.
FOR-NY’s work as a statewide recovery community over the past year has provided incredible opportunities to link with recovery warriors throughout New York in ways that have strengthened our connection to each other. All of us have been touched by addiction. Many have experienced the freedom that recovery brings. Others find purpose and meaning in advocating for the loved one they lost to addiction.
Your stories of hope and healing, of recovery and resiliency, of despair and determination, have inspired us to do things many thought were impossible:
• More than 700 advocates traveled to Albany in February to participate in our very successful annual Stand Up for Recovery Day
• 500 friends of recovery, speakers, and volunteers attended the 2nd Annual New York State Recovery Conference
• More than one hundred artists contributed to the 14th Annual Recovery Fine Arts Festival
• Almost 700 New Yorkers completed the FOR-NY Recovery Needs Survey
• Hundreds of individuals spoke up at one of the four Recovery Talks Community Listening Forums throughout the state, as well as the elected officials and various community leaders sat on the listening panels so that they heard important suggestions from the community that addressed the needs of residents impacted by addiction
• 40 people who became qualified trainers of the Science of Addiction and Recovery and Our Stories Have Power messaging trainings and more than 200 people attended these sessions
• Nearly 200 people attended the Community Asset Mapping, Building Your RCO from the Ground Up and 45-Second Elevator Pitch advocacy and organization-building training sessions
• Recovery Coach Academy (RCA) and Certified Recovery Peer Advocates (CRPA) trainers (posted over 170 trainings on our website), core trainers, trainees and active Peer Recovery Coaches have been working together to fill the gaps in our system by supporting Peer Recovery Professionals
• Countless volunteers at the Recovery Community Organizations (RCOs), Recovery Community & Outreach Centers (RCOCs), and Youth Clubhouses (YCHs) were tireless in their commitment to promote and support addiction recovery at the local level
• Over 100 people participated in our bi-monthly Community-Based Recovery Supports (CBRS) teleconference meetings in Rochester, New York City and Albany
• The generous friends who gave financial support through our general fund, and the Campaign for Addiction Recovery (CFAR), in memory of a lost loved one, in celebration of a recovery anniversary, or just because it’s the right thing to do
• More than 50 recovery allies who attended the FOR-NY Pre-Conference Institute and ASAP Conference and the RCO Panel and Family Panel sessions
The work accomplished together and the conversations shared reveal stories of recovery and loss; gratitude and fear; hope and despair… and each inspires us to continue our work: “To demonstrate the power and proof of recovery from addiction and its value to individuals, families and communities throughout New York State and the nation…and to actively seek to advance public policies and practices that promote and support recovery.”
As we wrap up this year, we express our thanks to Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez and her team at OASAS for their ongoing commitment and leadership to implementing recovery support services throughout New York.
Thank you Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state legislators who have demonstrated their commitment to the needs of the recovery community by providing funding for recovery support services, greater accessibility to treatment, and greater access to treatment through insurance coverage.
Much gratitude to members of FOR-NY’s Board of Directors Joe Turner; Deb Rhoades, Chacku Mathai, Suzanne LaPorte, Dona Pagon, Laurie Lieberman, and Jackson Davis – we are truly grateful for your leadership, service and support.
And to the wonderful staff at FOR-NY – Allison, Theresa, Debbie, and Shana – a sincere and grateful thank you for your passion and commitment to recovery – as well as our consultants and partners – Michelle Cleary (Arts Festival), Tammy Butler-Fluitt (blazing recovery connections across Western, Central and the Finger Lakes), and Richard Buckman (build recovery infrastructure throughout Long Island). As 2017 draws to a close, I am grateful for each and every one of you. As we prepare for the year ahead, know that FOR-NY is committed to continuing work with you to create a world in which the entire spectrum of support and services are available to all who seek recovery.
Happy Holidays – and a Happy New Year to you and your loved ones!
With much gratitude,