We are dedicated to organizing and mobilizing the over 23 million Americans in recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs, our families, friends and allies into recovery community organizations and networks, to promote the right and resources to recover through advocacy, education and demonstrating the power and proof of long-term recovery. Learn more...
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The rise of an international recovery advocacy movement is, country by country, expanding the physical, psychological, social, and political space in which long-term personal and family recovery can flourish. Earlier posts have highlighted such efforts in Canada, the UK, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Australia, Japan, the Philippines, and East Africa. Today, we explore recovery advocacy in the Republic of Ghana in West Africa.
Ironically, it is at the margins of society that one discovers the moral center. –Van Jones
In a bleeding world, where are the sources of communal healing? When our connecting fabric is shredding under the assault of hateful rhetoric, where do we find common ground—settings where people speak with each other and not at and over each other? How can we escape the spell of political pimps of all persuasions creating and exploiting divisions for personal aggrandizement and ideological gain?
I regularly receive emails and phone calls that poignantly illuminate the stigma and discrimination people can face as they make the journey through addiction to recovery and a life of purpose and meaning. Drug warrior ideologues have employed manipulative rhetoric and caricatured images of people experiencing alcohol and other drug (AOD) problems for political, professional, and financial gain. The resulting policy and practice consequences have inflicted harm in multiple quarters, but perhaps most devastatingly upon those most directly affected by such problems. Misconceptions about the nature of addiction and pessimism about the potential for long-term recovery have fueled social stigma, led to the mass incarceration of drug users, and assured inadequate resource allocations for addiction treatment. Stigma has also inhibited help-seeking and created obstacles to recovery in such areas as housing, education, health care, and employment, as well as contributing to the social isolation of people in recovery. For people in recovery, addiction-related stigma can insert itself into all manner of restrictions years into the recovery process. Below is an illustration of such a restriction when Shiv Sharma, a member of the Board of SMART Recovery International (SRI), requested a visa to travel to the SRI board annual meeting in the U.S. (His letter to me is shared here with his permission.)