Now in its 25th year, international Recovery Month raises awareness of substance use disorders and promotes the societal benefits of prevention, treatment and recovery support services. Throughout September thousands of people across the UK have organised local events celebrating the fact that recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs is a lived reality in their lives.
Recovery events growing
Recovery Month celebration events have grown beyond what anyone could have predicted here in the UK with an estimated 100 events taking place across the country in 2014. Local recovery celebration events that once welcomed a few dozen brave participants grew into the hundreds and then into the thousands. Each one is stepping forward to challenge the degrading public stereotypes attached to addiction – and together stepping forward to put a public face on addiction recovery.
The UK Recovery Walk
The highlight of Recovery Month in the UK is, of course, the annual UK Recovery Walk. This year in Manchester, several thousand people in long term recovery, their friends, allies and families, made visible the viable and varied recovery solutions for alcohol and other drug problems – the largest gathering of people in recovery in Europe!
Next year’s UK Recovery Walk will be held in Durham. We are also now open to notes of interest and applications for the hosting of The UK Recovery Walk in 2016: see here for more details. The host city/town for the UK recovery walk is decided by a vote by UKRW members each year. It’s easy and free to become member here.
The UK Recovery Walk charity is the only organisation in the UK with an explicit mission to respond to the organisational and leadership development needs of grass roots addiction recovery community organisations, and to develop and unify addiction recovery advocacy in the UK.
Since our formation in April 2013 we have brought The Anonymous People movie to over fifty locations throughout the UK to raise awareness of our mission and developed various resources to mobilise, support and unify the UK recovery Movement, all of which are free to download from our website, including:
- Advocacy with Anonymity
- Using Your Story
- Top Tips For Media
- Recovery Community Organisations’ Toolkit
- UK Recovery Coach Manual
All of these can be found here.
Our latest resource, A Toolkit for Recovery Advocates in England, has been produced to support the work of those involved in local advocacy work for prevention, treatment and recovery support services in England. It was launched at our “Advocacy in Action” conference, hosted by Manchester Metropolitan University the day before the UK Recovery Walk in Manchester and is available as a free download here.
- Co-producing the 7th UK Recovery Walk in Durham in September 2015
- Developing & disseminating non-stigmatising, evidence based narratives messages for the recovery advocacy movement to engage the public and policy makers
- Advocating for the promotion of laws and social policies that reduce alcohol and other drug problems and support recovery for those suffering from addiction to alcohol and other drugs problems
- Organising and supporting local and national advocacy campaigns
- Rurther developing the Association of Recovery Community Organisations to support local action
- Developing a Leadership Forum to increase leadership capacity and capability in the UK Recovery Movement
25th International Recovery Month
So as we mark the 25th anniversary of International Recovery Month, it is important to recognise why public education and policy advocacy is so important. All over the UK we are, as people in recovery, living lives of restored health and community service who, even as little as 50 years ago, would have died or been subjected to jails & other institutions.
We thank and are deeply grateful to all our professional and volunteer friends who helped create and are trying to protect the environment where this is possible. We also honour your years of dedicated service during this month of recovery education and celebration.
We look forward to seeing you at the 7th UK Recovery Walk in Durham in September 2015 to celebrate the achievements of individuals in recovery, and acknowledge the work of prevention, treatment, and recovery services
Annemarie Ward is the CEO of the UK Recovery Walk Charity. www.ukrecoverywalk.org