Together We Are Stronger

Together We Are Stronger

By: Merlyn Karst, Recovery Ambassador

September is designated as Recovery Month. Recovery Month promotes the societal benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery for mental and substance use disorders.  It celebrates the millions of people as they live in the joy and reality of recovery. I have participated in Rallies and events primarily in Denver, Colorado since 2002.  In 2018, Advocates for Recovery-Colorado, was the host to the national hub event. Country wide, these events provided the opportunity to announce the birth and carry the message of Faces and Voices of Recovery. Making history year by year, Recovery from Addiction is now a growing national and international recovery advocacy movement.

I now live in Orange County, California, I recently participated in an event named Recovery Happens originating in California’s capitol. Three well-known names were among sponsors. Faces and Voices of Recovery, Young People in Recovery, and The Phoenix. It is usually held on the Capitol steps, but as is today’s normal, It was virtual instead. I’m a fan of virtual technology. Unfortunately, it does not have the value of human togetherness and fellowship. We are involved in a Zoom Room Boom. It does allow an important factor. To achieve and maintain connections. I am participating in a Peer Coach Training with Peer Coach Academy in Colorado. SAMSHA’s theme banner says: Join the Voices of Recovery: Celebrate Connections. We are virtually connected in so many ways—apart but together. We are getting good at it. The definition of virtuosity is to have a skill and expertise as we see in virtual activities. I think it leads one to a new word —virtualocity

I find it worth repeating what I wrote in a recent blog.  In the real and virtual world, I make my bed, shower, and dress presentably for viewing and being viewed. No travel involved. Bed and board are at hand.  check the “set”, settle in my comfortable chair, and put my best face forward. The virtual world has merit through selective learning and social sensibility. If you are not earning, you should be learning. It will be of benefit to the establishment of health and well-being and even might allow being better than well. 

Recovery Community Organizations are being formed at a growing rate with knowledge that the pandemic will put new burdens on the community from increased mental health and substance use disorders. Unfortunately, there has been an increase in use and misuse of the drug alcohol.  Communities need resources, information, and leadership. I recently read this, “By repairing past and current harms in our communities, we bring new possibilities to the future.” We have a role to play.

In a recent Bill White and Bill Stauffer paper, Nothing About Us Without Us, I noted the following: People with personal knowledge of the recovery process and the historical challenges faced by people seeking and in recovery free of conflicted interests are the best suited for recovery advocacy leadership. Guidelines: 1) Members of recovery communities are provided a voice in the selection of persons who represent their experience and needs. 2) Those representing the recovery experience at public and policy levels possess rich experiential knowledge of personal and/or family recovery from addiction. 3) Persons representing the experiences and needs of people seeking and/in recovery are free from ideology, political, or financial conflicts of interest that could unduly influence their advocacy efforts. This paper is important.  Read this and another, Recovery Advocacy For a Country is Crisis.

We recently formed the first RCO in Orange County, The Purpose of Recovery. Our primary purpose is to promote and perpetuate connections, resources, and a collective purpose for providers of Recovery support services in Orange County. It was established with support and guidance with connection to other RCOs in Northern California, Texas, Georgia, and Colorado. All members of Faces and Voices of Recovery’s ARCO, the Association of Recovery Community OrganizationsARCO links RCOs and their leaders with local and national allies and provides training and technical assistance to groups. ARCO helps build the unified voice of the organized recovery community and fulfill our commitment to supporting the development of new groups and strengthening existing ones. As the SAMSHA banner says, Celebrating Connections. A great purpose to be served during Recovery Month. Together We Are Stronger.