Unity in Recovery

Celebrating Recovery and Unity

September is a special month for those in the recovery community, as it signifies Recovery Month. This year, Faces & Voices of Recovery had the privilege of attending the National Rally for Recovery event in Oklahoma City, OK. On September 16, 2023, Oklahoma Citizen Advocates for Recovery and Transformation Association (OCARTA) hosted the National Rally for Recovery for the first time! People from all over the country were invited to join Oklahoma City in a day full of recovery centered education, community awareness, and many more fun activities for all ages!

For the past decade, the tradition of celebrating Recovery Month has included the National Rally for Recovery, a main event hosted by an Alliance member organization. This year, we were once again able to witness how this event continues to evolve and leave a lasting impact on individuals, families, and entire communities across America.

The goal of this event was to spread awareness about the recovery community in Oklahoma City and to celebrate recovery. The event also served to heal. There was a time and space devoted to honoring those in recovery and those who we have lost.

The incredible event took place at Oklahoma State University – Oklahoma City Campus, the National Rally for Recovery was an entirely free event, anyone and everyone was welcome to attend. Faces & Voices sent four staff members to Oklahoma to participate in the festivities and the event did not disappoint!

The weather was perfect for an outdoor gathering in September.  Everyone was thrilled with the turnout, nearly 600 people were in attendance. Faces & Voices had so many visitors to our table that we lost count and our faces hurt from all the smiling and joy we experienced.

Our staff was able to engage with people exactly where they were, a true boot on the ground experience. “We met people with days and some with years in recovery, as well as many allies there to support the movement as a whole,” said Lori Mellinger, F&V Training Manager.

A Festival of Recovery

The heart of the National Rally for Recovery event in Oklahoma City is undoubtedly the recovery-centered program that it offers. This year’s program was nothing short of remarkable, with a diverse lineup of activities and performances that left attendees feeling uplifted and inspired.

Live Music from Class of ’39 Band: The event kicked off with a bang as the Class of ’39 Band took the stage. Their lively music and infectious energy set the tone for a day filled with celebration and positivity. There’s something truly special about live music, and it was evident that this band’s performance resonated with everyone in attendance.

Motivational Speaker, Bee Smith: Bee Smith, motivational speaker, captivated the audience with her powerful words of wisdom and encouragement. Her personal journey of recovery served as a source of hope for many, reminding us all that recovery is not only possible but also a beautiful journey of self-discovery and growth.

Comic, Bryce Jones: Laughter is undoubtedly therapeutic, and Bryce Jones had the crowd in stitches with his comedic performance. His ability to find humor in life’s challenges was a testament to the resilience of individuals in recovery. Laughter truly is a universal language that brings people together, and Bryce’s performance did just that.

Cheyenne and Arapaho Dance Performance: The cultural diversity of the event was celebrated through a stunning performance by the Cheyenne and Arapaho dancers. Their graceful movements and vibrant costumes reminded us of the richness of our nation’s indigenous cultures and the importance of unity in our recovery journey.

Choir Performance from Harding Charter Prep: The angelic voices of the choir from Harding Charter Prep filled the air with music that touched our souls. Music has a unique way of connecting people and evoking emotions, and this performance was no exception. It was a moment of pure serenity and reflection.

Food, Yoga, and Activities for All: In addition to the incredible performances, the event offered an array of food trucks, free food, yoga sessions, and activities for kids. It was a true family-friendly event that catered to the diverse needs and interests of attendees. The sense of community and togetherness was palpable throughout the day.

A Day of Unity and Inspiration

The National Rally for Recovery event was not just an event; it was a celebration of unity, hope, and the incredible strength of individuals in recovery. It showcased the power of community and the support that is available for those on the journey to recovery.

All who attended the event couldn’t help but feel a renewed sense of hope and inspiration. It was a reminder that recovery is possible, and it’s a journey that should be celebrated and shared with others. The positive energy and sense of belonging experienced at the event was truly heartwarming.

In conclusion, the National Rally for Recovery event in Oklahoma City, was a shining example of the power of community, music, laughter, and unity in the journey of recovery. It was a day filled with positivity and inspiration, and I am grateful to have been a part of it. Here’s to celebrating recovery and the resilience of the human spirit!

We cannot wait for next year’s event in Chicago!

Emily Porcelli

Marketing & Communications Manager

Emily Porcelli is a proud Chicagoland native and recently moved back to the area after a long 12 years of East Coast Living. She has a Bachelor’s degree from Valparaiso University in Northwest Indiana and a Master’s degree from Seton Hall University in New Jersey. Working everywhere from PetSmart to the Newark Museum to Manhattan skyscrapers Emily still hasn’t decided what she wants to be when she grows up but is loving that the journey has taken her to Faces & Voices of Recovery. She has 7 years of development and events experience with nonprofits in New York City and Philadelphia, and she believes people live their best lives when they are kind and humane to one another and tries to live every day by those principals.

Emily currently lives in a west suburb of Chicago with her wife and their rescue puppy Pepperoni. She enjoys traveling, hiking, cooking, American History, and quilting, and her mother claims that Emily may very well be the reincarnation of Betsy Ross.