Johnny Allem

Johnny Allem brings 25 years of activism and leadership as a grassroots and national advocate for addiction recovery and a founding board member of Faces & Voices of Recovery. Allem is an author and lecturer, consulting on electoral, policy and recovery issues. He co-founded the Aquila Recovery Clinic in 2011 to advance a recovery and business philosophy designed to “mainstream” addiction treatment within the healthcare industry. Formerly President and CEO of the Johnson Institute and Director of Operations of the District of Columbia’s mental health system, Allem worked closely with the late Senator Harold Hughes to launch the Society of Americans in Recovery (SOAR) in the 1990s.

"I can’t think of a better place to make a donation than Faces & Voices of Recovery because I’ve seen the positive results of our contributions in the resources developed and the activities undertaken that have mobilized a ground swell of advocacy. Without our financial support, we might not have “Our Stories Have Power: Recovery Community Messaging Training,” which is changing the language we use when we speak about addiction and recovery.  “The Anonymous People,” and the more recent “Generation Found, “documentaries have galvanized individuals in recovery, family members and friends and allies of recovery to take action.”  I like knowing that my support contributes to really making a difference."

Betty Curriera proud founding board member

Our Mission

Changing the way addiction and recovery are understood and embraced through advocacy, education and leadership.

Our Vision

We envision a world where the diverse voices of individuals and families affected by addiction are embraced and connected in communities, free from discrimination and injustice.

What We Do

  • Mobilize and organize to raise the profile of the organized recovery community and help more people find recovery by demonstrating that over 23 million Americans from all walks of life have found recovery and promote widespread understanding that long-term recovery is a reality and a process that takes time and support.
  • Build the capacity of recovery community organizations to thrive and participate in local, state and national policy arenas, deliver peer recovery support services; and mobilize the local recovery community.
  • Address public policy to reduce the discrimination that keeps people from seeking recovery or moving on to better lives once they achieve it and support recovery-oriented policies and programs.

Our Goals

  • Laws and policies enable recovery, health, wellness and civic engagement for people affected by alcohol and other drugs.
  • Communities are organized and mobilized to address policies, practices and perceptions for people affected by alcohol and other drugs.
  • Individuals, families and communities affected by alcohol and other drugs have universal access to quality, effective care and supports to achieve recovery, health, wellness and civic engagement.


For too long those most affected by alcohol and other drug problems have been absent from the public policy debate. Faces & Voices of Recovery was founded in 2001 at a Summit in St. Paul, Minnesota, the culmination of more than two years of work to provide focus for a growing advocacy force among people in long-term recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs, their families, friends and allies.

Since then, the addiction recovery movement has exploded – in the US and around the globe.

In 2001, Faces & Voices of Recovery adopted a Core Positioning Statement, laying out the principles for a national campaign and elected a 22-member Campaign Advisory Committee to provide leadership to the campaign.

"Times have changed. The recovery community is unifying around key priorities – to gain needed resources and to end discrimination against people in recovery. We are working to eliminate barriers to recovery for every American, every family and to help today’s children and future generations, who often are the biggest winners in the process of recovery."

Throughout the U.S., recovery advocates were hard at work on local and statewide campaigns. In 2003, Faces & Voices of Recovery elected a 13-member Campaign Steering Committee to streamline and revitalize its work and make it more responsive to the recovery community. In 2004, Faces & Voices of Recovery was incorporated and received IRS designation as a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit corporation. In 2005, a 21-member Board of Directors was elected to advise and direct the campaign. The Recovery Bill of Rights was released as Faces & Voices took on new successful campaigns, including ending insurance discrimination facing people with addiction.

The groundbreaking Our Stories Have Power Recovery Community Messaging training has been used by tens of thousands of advocates to sharpen their skills as recovery communicators and deliver strategic messages in the media, to policymakers and the general public.

'We will shape the future of recovery with a detached silence or with a passionate voice." - Bill White

In 2011, with a growing membership of over 25,000 individuals and organizations, Faces & Voices celebrated its 10th anniversary. The Board released the first in a series of Public Policy Position papers, on:

Criminal Justice Recovery Advocacy


Now, we are led by a 13 member Board of Directors and have regionally-based staff located in the District of Columbia, Arizona, Texas, Minnesota, Montana, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Maryland, and North Carolina. We are making a significant impact on the federal level by influencing funding decisions for recovery support services through legislation such as the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) and the 21st Century CURES Act.  We continue to train Recovery Ambassadors across the nation and offer educational webinars on topics important to the recovery community. Our social media presence focuses on putting a face & voice on recovery through sharing recovery stories to demonstrate that over 23 million Americans are living proof of recovery.

We are moms and dads, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, and friends of people regaining their health and lives through freedom from addiction. By organizing and speaking out together, we support and give hope to individuals who are still struggling with addiction and to those who have found the power of long-term recovery.