Our recovery advocacy blog is produced by individuals in recovery!  Here you will find commentary and personal discussions on different aspects of addiction recovery and advocacy. 


The social stigma attached to addiction and addiction recovery inflicts innumerable harms to individuals, families, organizations, and communities. Two people in recovery recently emailed me sharing quite different dilemmas—each flowing from stigma-induced caricatures of addiction and recovery.

The federal government is providing very minimal funding for RCOs. President Trump’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis did not include recovery support among its initial recommendations. However, Governor Christie himself, has included a significant amount of funding for recovery support services in the State of New Jersey.

Meanwhile, every person impacted by addiction is racing the clock. My friend Joe was trying desperately to get sober. He celebrated his one-year anniversary in AA and then “slipped.” He stopped drinking again and was enrolled in a clinic that was helping him. But his body had been broken by years of abuse. When he slipped again, he ran out of time. History shows that people with addiction want to recover. We must give them the chance.

One of the most difficult challenges facing the historian is evaluating a series of linked events while they are still unfolding and while their long-term import remains unclear. That is a challenge I regularly face in recounting recent threads within the evolving fabric of addiction treatment and recovery in the United States. This brief essay risks identifying emerging trends I believe to be of enduring historical significance. Here are 12 advancements within the history of addiction recovery that mark the opening years of the 21st century.

Advocacy movements require transforming highly personal stories into the collective narrative of “a people.” Merging the individual stories into a larger collective mosaic allows people with shared characteristics and experiences to see their past and future as part of a larger drama. As Marcus Garvey suggests, individuals become a people only when connected to their shared historical roots.

September is National Recovery Month and is held annually to increase awareness and celebrate successes of those in recovery. It provides comprehensive education about substance use treatment and mental health services and can enable those with a mental and/or substance use disorder in learning about and living a healthy and rewarding life. There are millions of Americans whose lives have been transformed through recovery from the substance use disorder that is addiction. These successes often go unnoticed. Recovery Month provides a vehicle for everyone to celebrate and share these accomplishments.

Parallel to the understanding growing that incarcerating our way out of substance use disorder just doesn’t work for people and that prevention, early intervention, treatment and recovery support services are far more humane and effective, there is now a new target enemy in War On Drugs 2.0: the drug dealers.