Carlee Hulsizer is a staff member with Youth Voices Matter – New York. Her blog #HearMeRoar is a window into her journey as a Young Adult in Recovery and her experience with the New York State Recovery Community. The following is her blog post about the NYS Recovery Conference:

Hey friends, Carlee here. What an incredible past few days! Not only was I able to spend some time on vacation last week, but the next day when I returned home, I was able to attend the 3rd Annual New York State Recovery Conference in Albany. I had the most amazing time with some of the most incredible people I’ve ever met.

The conference started on a Sunday morning August 19, 2018 – this was actually the pre-conference institute. Youth Voices Matter-NY was hosting an all-day Strategic Planning Session for youth and young adults looking to get more involved in the youth recovery movement. It was refreshing to hear everyone’s new ideas. We discussed where YVM-NY has been and brainstormed where we would like to be a year from now – and even five years from now. We finished the day with a discussion with Road Recovery about Rock-N-Ride which has been our biggest summer initiative. It was really overwhelming for me to see how far we have come in just one year. I left that room feeling like Youth Voices Matter-NY is moving in the right direction and we are becoming a powerful force across the State of New York. Later that evening, there was a dance. I danced for hours and at one point had to go barefoot because the heels just weren’t working out for me. Overall, it was an amazing day and start to the conference.

Monday August 20, 2018 – the OFFICIAL first day of the conference. I woke up that morning feeling energized and ready for the long day that awaited me. I attended a workshop about living a purposeful life. I was really moved by the information I was given. It forced me to really look at the life I was living and find out how much meaning there really is behind what I do every day. After that workshop was the fun part. I knew that I was going to be on two back-to-back panels. This made me a bit nervous so I did what I always do when I have to speak in front of people – I prayed. Prayer has been a huge part of my healing process and my recovery. I simply asked my higher power to use me for the right purpose and any anxiety that I was feeling to be lifted from me. I also made sure to ask that whatever I was meant to say, be spoken with clarity and confidence. Let’s just say that after speaking on both panels, I had nothing to worry about. Both workshops went very well and people who attended asked some very insightful questions. I was so grateful to be able to add to the solution to many of the problems plaguing our community.

Tuesday August 21, 2018 – Day two of the conference was also very memorable. One of my favorite moments happened on this second day. I was able to watch my mom speak on a panel about siblings and grandparents in recovery from their loved one’s addiction. My mom has an incredible story, not only about being a person in recovery herself, but also being affected by my disease and the disease of my brother. I sat in her workshop as a proud daughter, just as she sat in mine as a proud mother. I really enjoyed sharing these past few days with her. Recovery has brought us so close and I am grateful that we have each other as supports.

The 2018 NYS Recovery Conference will be talked about for years to come. I cannot even begin to explain how many people made an impact on my life simply by attending this conference. One of the coolest things was being able to meet people that I’ve only met through Facebook and other social media. This conference connected all of the dots and opened my eyes to see how big the recovery community is across the state. My challenge to anyone reading this is that if you didn’t attend the conference this year, please attend next year! You will not be disappointed. And for those of you who did attend, we want to hear from you about your favorite part or something that inspired you at the conference. What do you have to say about the amazing three days we had together?

Take care,