recoveryblog: a blog for recovery advocates!

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.

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Advocacy & Outreach Program Assistant

November 21, 2022
Faces & Voices of Recovery is seeking an Advocacy & Outreach Program Assistant. This is a full-time home-based position with a competitive annual starting salary- based on experience. Faces & Voices of Recovery offers generous leave and health benefits. We believe that diversity in experiences, perspectives, knowledge, and ideas fuels creativity, broadens knowledge, and helps drive success. That’s why we’re proud to be an equal opportunity employer and strive to treat all employees with honesty, dignity, and sensitivity. We welcome all qualified applicants regardless of recovery status, criminal justice history, race, color, national origin, ethnicity, religion, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender, gender expression or identity, age, disability, veteran status, marital status or any other legally protected class. To Apply:  A cover letter describing your interest in THIS job and why you’re a good fit is required.  Send resume and cover letter to Job purpose

The Advocacy & Outreach ProgramAssistant provides support for the Public Affairs department within the organization. The Program Assistant works on advocacy and public policy projects collaboratively with team members on activities such as awareness campaigns, legislative issues, public speaking events, constituent training, national and international outreach.The primary purpose is to provide administrative support to ensure project goals are met efficiently and in a timely manner.

Duties & Responsibilities
  • Answer phone and emails and respond to requests for information and resources
  • Create calendar events in Outlook
  • Maintain project files in Sharepoint
  • Enter data into Salesforce
  • Host virtual meetings through the Zoom platform
  • Schedule conference calls and meetings
  • Prepare meeting materials and record meeting notes
  • Assist with collecting project data and preparing reports
  • Update website as needed
  • Create surveys and collect results
  • Coordinate travel and event logistics
  • Other administrative duties
  • Strong commitment and enthusiasm for recovery advocacy and the people and groups we serve around the country
  • Must be a self-starter with the ability to work independently and as a team.
  • Administrative experience required
  • Strong aptitude for technology required
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite, including SharePoint
  • Experience with Salesforce, WordPress, Survey Monkey, Doodle a plus
  • Superior internet research skills
  • Excellent interpersonal, organizational, and written/oral communication skills
  • Copy editing skills a plus
  • Bachelor’s degree preferred; Associate (AA) or equivalent administrative experience required
  • $40,000 – $45,000 – Commensurate with experience.
Working conditions

Faces & Voices of Recovery employs remote workers, but projects may require staff to travel. All necessary personal arrangements for travel; childcare, house care, etc. should be done on staff personal time. Errands, like shipping and mailing, that pertain to projects can be done during work hours. All staff are required to maintain a suitable home office environment and be working and available to reached during office hours –9-5 ET unless discussed otherwise with supervisor.

Physical requirements Must be able to remain in a stationary position 90% of the time. Constantly operates a computer and other office productivity machinery, such as a calculator, copy machine, and computer printer. The person in this position frequently communicates with customers who have inquiries. Must be able to exchange accurate information in these situations.Some occasions may call for moving equipment weighing up to 50 pounds to and from venue locations for various event’s needs. Direct Reports


Faces & Voices of Recovery Issues Urgent Call to Action

November 17, 2022

Unlocking the Potential of Recovery Community Organizations and Peer Recovery Support Services is an important call to action on the future of addiction recovery in the United States”, says William L. White, Recovery Historian, and author of Slaying the Dragon: The History of Addiction Treatment and Recovery in America. “If its recommendations are heeded, this seminal report could well be a milestone in the future of recovery community organizations and peer recovery support services.”

The white paper, soon to be released publicly by Faces & Voices of Recovery, demonstrates how the current financing models for peer recovery support services present significant barriers to maximizing the role of the peer workforce in addressing the addiction crisis in the United States.  The peer-to-peer relationship impacts health at multiple levels of the socioecological model (i.e., at individual, family, community, and societal levels) and has potential not currently actualized.  The inclusion of peer workers has become a best practice and a number of interventions utilizing them demonstrate compelling outcomes. In this report, the authors lay out the key issues underlying the need for action to bring about broad systems change.

“While we recognize the complexity of policy and financing issues, the peer workforce and recovery community organizations that employ them need a paradigm shift now to sustain their invaluable work in communities across America. This report is a must-read for everyone interested in the future of recovery community organizations and peer recovery support services”, says Patty McCarthy, CEO of Faces & Voices of Recovery.

Authors of the white paper are Kenneth D. Smith, PhD, Assistant Professor of Public Health at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, Robin Peyson, MHSA, Owner & Lead Consultant of RLP Consulting, and Sierra Castedo de Martell, MPH, Doctoral Candidate, UTHealth School of Public Health, Austin Regional Campus.

Join Faces & Voices of Recovery at 3-4:30 pm ET on December 1, 2022, for a webinar with the authors, as well as other nationally recognized leaders in the recovery movement. To learn more or register


Unlocking the Potential of Recovery Community Organizations and Peer Recovery Support Services will be made available on the Faces & Voices of Recovery website at prior to the event.



Director of Public Affairs

November 10, 2022

Faces & Voices of Recovery is seeking a Director of Public Affairs.

This is a full-time home-based position with a competitive annual starting salary- based on experience. Faces & Voices of Recovery offers generous leave and health benefits.

We believe that diversity in experiences, perspectives, knowledge, and ideas fuels creativity, broadens knowledge, and helps drive success. That’s why we’re proud to be an equal opportunity employer and strive to treat all employees with honesty, dignity, and sensitivity. We welcome all qualified applicants regardless of recovery status, criminal justice history, race, color, national origin, ethnicity, religion, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender, gender expression or identity, age, disability, veteran status, marital status or any other legally protected class.

To Apply: 

A cover letter describing your interest in THIS job and why you’re a good fit is required. 

Send resume and cover letter to

Job purpose

The Director of Public Affairs works closely with the senior management team to develop, advance, and oversee the public affairs activities of Faces & Voices of Recovery, including the organization’s communications, marketing, public relations, government relations, policy, and advocacy strategies.

Focus Area

Special focus of this position includes leveraging the existing initiatives and expertise of the organization to develop a cohesive message and platform for all relevant stakeholders, including members of the recovery advocacy community, government leaders, and the general public. It includes understanding, identifying, and maximizing opportunities to advance public policy issues relevant to the organization and developing and implementing communications strategies. This position requires the ability to swiftly maximize opportunities and mitigate risks, while building positive relationships with stakeholders, the media, and the public. The Director will leverage the expertise of board members, public policy committee and other partners to implement communications and public relations plans to help operationalize the mission and vision of Faces & Voices of Recovery.

Primary Responsibilities

The Director of Public Affairs leads the Public Affairs team and works collaboratively across departments to achieve the following:

  • Develop and implement cohesive national messaging around addiction recovery
  • Develop and implement a process for measuring national impact
  • Identify and leverage opportunities to generate national, regional and local news
  • Develop and implement public relations and communications strategies
  • Oversee implementation of a cross-functional government relations, public policy and advocacy strategy
  • Oversee implementation of a cross-functional marketing strategy for products and services
  • Build, manage, and strengthen relationships with government officials, stakeholders in the recovery advocacy community including Recovery Community Organizations (RCOs), and industry partners at the local, state, and federal levels
  • Generate written content, including press releases, op-eds, articles, keynote speeches, talking points, and other promotional materials for public consumption and internal use
  • Oversee the creation of high-quality briefing materials for political audiences to support public policy strategy and advocacy priorities
  • Ensure the organization’s commitment to justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion (J-DEI) is reflected throughout all communications, publications, materials, and messaging
  • Improve and oversee communications platforms and delivery vehicles, including social media platforms
  • Develop and oversee execution of work plans and project plans to achieve the organization’s public relations, communications, and policy goals and vision
  • Develop a wide range of new opportunities to maximize the impact of the organization.


  • At least 5 years of progressive experience in public affairs related to social justice, healthcare, and/or behavioral healthcare
  • Experience with running grassroots campaigns to engage members and other stakeholders in policy discussions is a plus
  • A strong track record of positioning an organization to achieve tangible outcomes in a competitive communications environment
  • Ability to quickly develop subject matter expertise on a range of issues and translate complex issues and ideas for public consumption
  • Ability to coach, mentor, and support leaders and emerging leaders at all levels of the organizations as public spokespeople, and to function as the organization’s spokesperson when needed and appropriate
  • Expertise in developing messaging strategies
  • Ability to communicate with the public about why we back certain policies and why advocates should make their voices heard to influence government decisions
  • Experience in remote work and virtual platforms a plus
  • Values recognizing accomplishments and abilities of other staff
  • Passionate about Faces & Voices mission and able to promote and communicate the mission and values to external and internal stakeholders


  • A Bachelor’s Degree in public relations, communications, political science, healthcare administration, or another related field, is required for this position
  • Master’s Degree a plus. Relevant experience may be considered as a possible substitution

Specialized Knowledge

  • Demonstrates an understanding of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and a willingness to grow with the team in our DEI journey
  • Thorough understanding of how the internet and social media have transformed grassroots advocacy
  • Understanding of addiction and recovery principles, recovery support services and Recovery Community Organizations


  • Skilled in effective supervision and training of staff
  • Skilled in speaking and writing effectively
  • Skilled in providing public presentations and trainings
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite


  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with staff and representatives from other agencies, organizations, and the general public
  • Ability to use technology to maintain records
  • Ability to juggle multiple priorities in fast-paced environment
  • Ability to be agile and respond to changing needs and priorities quickly
  • Ability to facilitate teamwork and individualized professional growth among direct reports


  • $80,000 – $90,000 – Commensurate with experience.

Working conditions

Faces & Voices of Recovery employs remote workers who must maintain a home office conducive to optimal work performance and free of distractions. Some projects may require staff to travel. All necessary personal arrangements for travel such as childcare, house care, pet care, etc. should be done on personal time. Local errands, like shipping and mailing, that pertain to work projects should be done during work hours. All staff are required to work and be available during office hours – 9:00 am -5:00 pm ET unless otherwise approved by supervisor.

Physical requirements

Employee must be able to remain in a stationary position 90% of the time. Constantly operates a computer and other office productivity equipment. Some occasions may call for moving equipment weighing up to 50 pounds.

Direct Reports

Marketing and Communications Manager; Advocacy and Outreach Manager

Technical Host

May 13, 2022

Faces & Voices of Recovery is seeking a dynamic person to assist in providing technical support for our training courses starting immediately.  

This is an independent contractor role, up to 20 hours per week, as needed. Technical Hosts must be available to work between 9:00 am – 6:00 pm EST (Eastern Standard Time). 


Tasks and Responsibilities  

Technical Hosts will assist the Faces & Voices of Recovery’s National Recovery Institute by providing technical support for virtual training via the Zoom platform.  

 Position Duties and Responsibilities 

  • Open, host, and close virtual training  
  • Support facilitators by monitoring the chat, managing breakout rooms, uploading documents or links in the chat, and presenting slideshows as needed 
  • Support participants with any technical difficulties, such as locating Zoom features, renaming, utilizing cameras and microphones, etc. 
  • Answering questions related to the National Recovery Institute and their services 
  • Troubleshoot any technical issues on Zoom for participants and facilitators  
  • Provide excellent customer service via email, phone, Slack, and Zoom 


  • Advanced knowledge of Zoom platform and computer programs  
  • Excellent organizational, verbal, written, public speaking, and interpersonal skills 
  • Ability to work under pressure and think quickly on your feet 
  • Ability to work independently, as well as part of a team
  • Experience/interest in engaging and motivating a large group  
  • Familiarity with and interest in substance use disorders, addiction recovery, and healthcare issues a plus 


  • Excellent computer skills: proficient in Zoom, Microsoft PowerPoint, Word, and Outlook 
  • Excellent attention to detail 
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills 
  • Ability to show creative and flexible thinking 
  • Strong time management skills 
  • Strong ability to follow procedures 


  • Minimum of 6 months hosting Zoom meetings and/or virtual conferences 
  • Remote work as a student, volunteer, contractor, or employee for at least 1 year 
  • Introductory or higher understanding of adult learning 
  • People with lived experience who have been involved with grassroots campaigns in behavioral health, harm reduction, justice reform, multi-pathways of recovery, or LGBTQIA+ communities, are encouraged to apply 

 To Apply 

To apply, send a letter of interest and current resume/CV to 


Equal Opportunity Employer 

We believe that diversity in experiences, perspectives, knowledge, and ideas fuels creativity, broadens knowledge, and helps drive success. That’s why we’re proud to be an equal opportunity employer and strive to treat all employees with honesty, dignity, and sensitivity. We welcome all qualified applicants regardless of recovery status, criminal justice history, race, color, national origin, ethnicity, religion, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender, gender expression or identity, age, disability, veteran status, marital status, or any other legally protected class. 

Faces & Voices of Recovery’s Statement on Final FY2022 Budget

March 22, 2022

March 22, 2022


President Biden signed the nation’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget into law Tuesday, March 15, 2022. This year’s budget received several increases in areas that directly benefit recovery support services, including:

  • $50 million to Substance Abuse Block Grant (SABG)
  • $25 million to State Opioid Response (SOR) Program
  • $7.3 million Treatment, Recovery, and Workforce Support (SUPPORT Act)
  • $3 million to Building Communities of Recovery (BCOR)

Our advocacy work began last January when the President unveiled his plan to substantially increase dollars available in the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant (SABG), elevating current levels by over $1 billion. Although the House and Senate included these provisions in their original bills, they unfortunately did not reach the final bill text.

The FY2022 budget was met with primarily flat funding across the board. As a result, our members and community lost several promising provisions– including a 10% set-aside for recovery support services and the re-introduction of text prohibiting federal dollars utilized for safe supplies, like sterile syringes.

“Despite these setbacks,” says David Mineta, Board Chairperson, Faces & Voices of Recovery, “we have made clear strides with Congress, who continue to show overwhelming support for recovery support services. Our work for 2023 has already begun as we repeat the annual cycle for change. We trim last year’s vegetation and nourish the roots that have allowed the Recovery Movement to flower and grow–advocacy by the grassroots.”

Faces & Voices of Recovery has long advocated for Congress to establish a set-aside for recovery. The President’s historical push for a 10% set-aside for recovery support services and an enormous increase to the block grant would dedicate several hundred million dollars for recovery community organizations, including recovery high schools, collegiate recovery programs, recovery residences, and alternative peer groups across the United States.

“Over the last 20 years, our advocacy work has led to substantial increases in federal funding for recovery support services,” says Patty McCarthy, Chief Executive Officer, Faces & Voices of Recovery. “Within the past three years alone, our advocacy efforts have grown the Building Community of Recovery grant program from $5 million to $13 million. These increases in federal funding have allowed our communities to build and strengthen programs where it counts–in community-based settings. Looking to FY 2023, we will continue to work with Congress to ensure that the block grant receives at least a $1.7 billion increase and that 10% of block grant funds are dedicated to recovery.”

The final FY2022 budget may not be the outcome we were anticipating; many advocates did not expect Congress to deny the recommended funding levels during a time when preventable, fatal overdoses are the leading cause of death for people ages 18-45. However, this year’s budget did limit nearly all areas of federal spending. Our staff and partners redouble our efforts to strengthen new and existing programs supportive of recovery services, and we feel confident that the remainder of 2022 will present many opportunities to expand access and funding for recovery support services.

As we execute our federal priorities, we will continue to serve as a national resource to the Administration, Congress, and our community. We encourage all communities to amplify the faces and voices of recovery to ensure that all who seek wellness have equitable access to recovery support. This year onward, our timing and advocacy will be paramount to the future of people who use substances, those with substance use disorder, and their families and loved ones. For these reasons, Faces & Voices of Recovery stands ready to advocate, act, and advance.

We will continue to notify our communities of our progress and calls-to-action to support creating dedicated funding for recovery.

For more information, the FY2022 bill text can be found here.

Faces & Voices of Recovery Supports Safe Supplies for Harm Reduction

February 10, 2022

Board President David Mineta and Chief Operating Officer Philip Rutherford have released the following statement:

Communities across our country face the devastation posed by overdose deaths, now the leading cause of people ages 18-45. As a result, the exponential loss caused by preventable, fatal overdoses has led to an influx of innovative approaches that promote the general health and wellbeing of people that use drugs, including those with addiction.

This crisis continues to overwhelm families and communities through the loss of loved ones and the economic impact that fatal overdoses pose. At a minimum, fatal overdoses cost the United States $1 trillion annually. Alternatively, adequate addiction treatment dramatically reduces law enforcement and healthcare costs, including Medicaid spending, by 700%.

Faces & Voices of Recovery promotes the utilization of services that offer fentanyl test strips, access to HIV and viral hepatitis treatment, sterile syringes, and safe smoking supplies, which reduce the rate of overdose and spread of infectious diseases – minimizing the harmful effects of drug use. Additionally, these strategies promote linkages to care and facilitate services for the health and wellbeing of its participants through motivational interviewing, counseling, and peer support specialists.

Despite continued discussion around the ‘opioid epidemic,’ fatal overdoses are not confined to heroin or opioids, nor are they limited to intravenous drug use. For example, a recent report from the Commission on Combating Synthetic Opioid Trafficking, states that 70 percent of overdose deaths involve heroin or cocaine, and nearly 50 percent involve psychostimulants such as methamphetamines.

We must consider safer consumption for non-intravenous substance use when preventing overdose. Ultimately, dividing the available resources for safer drug consumption perpetuates stigma about different drugs. Historically, we’ve seen the challenges that arise from this mentality through the ‘crack epidemic,’ which led to the inherently flawed and racist practices of mandatory minimum sentencing, the three-strike policy, and ultimately mass incarceration.

These perspectives perpetuate the continued trauma of many Black communities that were and are ignored, untreated, and incarcerated rather than having access to treatment and recovery supportive opportunities. Not only does this further disadvantage communities of color, but it also disadvantages rural communities that may experience higher levels of methamphetamine use and continues the cycle of disproportionate systems and inequitable resources to access addiction recovery.

We encourage all communities to amplify the faces and voices of recovery to ensure that all who seek recovery have equitable access to recovery supports of their choice. Especially policies that eliminate systems, structures, and constructs that marginalize people by race and ethnicity.

Where the Overdose Epidemic & COVID Collide, Peer Coaches & Specialists Face ‘Perfect Storm’

February 7, 2022

“In the early days of the pandemic during lockdown, I lost three people in one month. With that happening and being in the recovery field, sometimes you wonder if you’ve done enough for someone.” – Pete Walker. 


2020 was an unprecedented year. Feelings of uncertainty and dread crept over the general public as COVID-19 broke headlines, further spreading and festering into a full-blown pandemic. The whole world seemed to be turned upside down as everything shut down around us. People lost their jobs, their homes, and their loved ones. Yet while this ongoing pandemic continues to dominate headlines, in the United States there has been another, tangential crisis gripping the country and its communities long before COVID – the addiction and overdose epidemic.  

The addiction and overdose epidemic has impacted communities across the country for years now. According to the CDC, there have been close to 841,000 people die from a drug overdose over the span of 20 years from 1999 to 2019. Despite research, advocacy efforts, and attempts to partially mobilize the recovery community, no one was quite prepared for the storm that 2020 would bring across the nation.  

The convergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and overdose epidemic led to a spike in overdose deaths, with overdoses hitting an all-time high in 2020. Recently, the CDC released new data showing that for the first time ever, during the ongoing pandemic, overdose deaths had exceeded 100,000 during a twelve-month period . According to the Recovery Research Institute, substance overdose deaths increased the most during the first five months of the pandemic . This can be attributed to most states going into lockdown, leaving many stuck in their homes. The isolation and disconnect experienced during this time often intensified existing mental health and substance use disorders. 

Abraham “Pete” Walker of Michigan and Florida, owner of Walker Consulting and Recovery Coaching, reflects upon the challenges he experienced during those early months of the pandemic and lockdown.

I like to say that with my emotions, I am pretty level keeled. I try to be spiritual and do good. But during lockdown I went into a very dark place”, says Pete. 

During this time, as Pete worked for his own LLC and some other recovery nonprofits, he lost three individuals to overdose in just one month. The emotional burden that compounded loss places upon a professional working in recovery support services is tremendous. By being a person in recovery as well, Pete directly understands the challenges that the isolation of the pandemic brought on to so many.  

“All of this is like a tornado happening. Maybe some that weren’t necessarily going to get caught up in it are getting swept up. Perhaps some of it comes from isolation and boredom, or from the scares and anxiety of the pandemic. We don’t know what happens to some people or what they might be going through – and COVID really intensified emotions and swept more people up into this tornado.” 

This metaphor Pete uses to capture the grim reality of what happened in 2020 hits close to home for many communities across the United States, as this ‘tornado’ touched down and wreaked havoc in nearly every corner of the country. At Healing Transitions in Raleigh, North Carolina, Courtni Wheeler leads the Rapid Responder Team. She began this role at the very start of the COVID pandemic, when most overdoses that Courtni and her team responded to were related to heroin or fentanyl use. However, as lockdowns started, the overdose calls they were responding to shifted to cocaine, pressed pills, methamphetamines, and even marijuana.  

Overdoses from marijuana were something Courtni described as ‘simply unheard of’. In fact, the majority of calls her team responded to in those early months of the pandemic were overdoses resulting from substances one wouldn’t typically overdose from. In working alongside Emergency Medical Service (EMS) personnel, Courtni became aware of how overloaded they were with calls, with many of them being related to mental health.  

“With the world shutting down and people losing their jobs, mental health crises were going up and so was substance use,” Courtni says. “We all know working in this field that mental health and substance use go hand-in-hand.” 

In responding to calls during the pandemic and lockdown, Courtni witnessed just how much COVID was impacting her community and those with substance use disorder. 

“For a lot of people. . . the only thing they have as a coping skill – to release those emotions and that stress and anxiety – is to use something to make them feel better,” says Courtni. “People who normally don’t suffer from mental health problems, or those that just have generalized anxiety, are now trying to cope with depression and are turning to substance use to do that.” 

Tornadoes don’t impact all communities equally. More marginalized communities don’t have as strong of structures to sustain themselves. When a tornado hits, they are more brutally damaged, even in less severe conditions. They have fewer resources to respond to the disaster crisis and scant reserves to fall back on when their communities lose infrastructure. The convergence of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the addiction and overdose epidemic— what is known as a ‘syndemic’ —has not impacted all communities equally. We need to address the long-standing deficits and historic gaps that have been exposed by the crises that have unfolded across all our communities.  

The syndemic has also taken its toll on the first responders that millions rely on each day. In many communities across the country, EMS first responders were already answering large volumes of calls related to overdoses. The COVID-19 pandemic just created even more of a burden. Anxieties over getting and spreading COVID to their families, coupled with the stress and increasing number of calls became almost unbearable for most. Many first responders interviewed for this article expressed experiencing compassion fatigue and had an internal conflict of wanting to help, but not feeling that compassion towards individuals who were overdosing. This internal struggle and burnout were something that they each had to cope with and work through, as they navigated through their emotions and the toll of being on the front lines of both crises. 

The substance use care system was already deep into what would be considered a severe workforce crisis, simmering for over at least the last two decades. In 2019, the Annapolis Coalition released a report commissioned by SAMHSA on our pre-COVID workforce crisis. It was estimated then that there was a need for 1,103,338 peer support workers and 1,436,228 behavioral health counselors, as part of the 4,486,865 behavioral health workers conservatively anticipated at the time of this report to meet the current need . However, it is even worse now. Recovery support systems have suffered from inconsistent funding and low compensation, and the result has been devastating. A recent occurrence has been individuals all over the country walking out of their jobs in what has been dubbed ‘The Great Resignation of 2021’. We are witnessing some recovery programs with 100% turnover of peer staff. The loss of recovery infrastructure at a time of greatest need is unsustainable. To rebuild, we must create a trauma and recovery-informed substance use disorder service system that is inviting for people to work in, focused on long-term healing and inclusive of the recovery community in all its diversity. 

A fundamental facet of how communities successfully respond after a disaster includes meaningful inclusion of all the members of that community in the rebuilding process. The first responder and recovery workforce have been working in this dynamic of assisting communities even as their own support systems have been ravaged. We must address the needs of first responders and peer workers in ways that foster healing at the individual and community level with stable funding at both the federal and state levels. A good start to this would be supporting the ten-percent recovery support set-aside in our federal Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant (SABG).  

The Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant (SABG) enables states and jurisdictions to provide prevention, treatment, and recovery support services. This federal funding allows programs to plan, implement, and evaluate activities related to substance use. Grantees are required to spend at least 20% of SABG dollars on primary prevention strategies. Currently, a similar carve-out for recovery support services is in discussion for the federal FY2022 budget. Fondly referred to as the Recovery Set-Aside, this new dedicated funding would require Grantees to spend at least 10% of SABG dollars on recovery services and strategies to strengthening recovery community organizations, collegiate recovery programs, recovery residences, and other peer recovery programs for substance use. Supporting and advocating for the Set-Aside is just one important step towards ensuring states can use these much-needed resources to support grassroots recovery community efforts in a sustainable and inclusive manner. Communities across the country depend on it, including yours. 


January 13, 2022

Washington, DC 

Faces & Voices of Recovery, a national advocacy organization and staple in the recovery community since 2001, is proud to further the work and dedication of International Recovery Day (IRD). Assuming responsibility of International Recovery Day – formerly International Recovery Day, Inc. – and all its assets, Faces & Voices will now lead and manage the continuation of this incredible event and its movement into the future.  

In 2019, John Winslow founded International Recovery Day, Inc. as an organization and event dedicated to promoting all recovery pathways from substance use disorders and educating the public on the value of recovery. Celebrated the 30th of September (Recovery Month), International Recovery Day is an opportunity to celebrate recovery with countries from across the globe! Although International Recovery Day, Inc. will no longer operate, the annual celebration remains. Entering its third year, Faces & Voices will continue this international celebration by working with organizations, entities, and enthusiastic supporters of recovery to illuminate monuments and structures in purple across the world on September 30th. 

 Founder, and former owner of International Recovery Day, John Winslow, shares his excitement for this transition, “From its earliest inception, I have pondered how best to ensure the continuity and growth of International Recovery Day… I felt an increasing recognition of the need to find and establish a solid home base for this new and tender venture that held the potential to impact millions. I feel confident this transition will ensure continuity of our annual global event and expand addiction recovery awareness and involvement to a much larger scale. It just feels right.” IRD blends seamlessly into Faces & Voices core service – advocacy. Continuing the tradition of International Recovery Day embraces Faces & Voices mission to change the way addiction and recovery are understood and embraced through advocacy, education, and leadership. 

Faces & Voices is ecstatic for this opportunity to heighten international awareness for recovery. “International Recovery Day has demonstrated that the global recovery movement has incredible power and provides a vital connection for millions around the world. We’re sincerely grateful for John Winslow’s leadership and vision for IRD. We’re honored to coordinate the annual observance and raise awareness for all recovery pathways from all addictions. We aim to engage individuals in every country around the world as a way to honor those in recovery and provide hope for those still struggling with addiction”, says Patty McCarthy, Chief Executive Officer, Faces & Voices of Recovery. 

International Recovery Day demonstrates the immense impact addiction recovery has on the world around us. From Niagara Falls in New York to Google Headquarters in California, and landmarks across the world lit purple on a single day to acknowledge recovery shows the tremendous affect that substance use disorder and recovery has on communities. 

International Recovery Day’s website – also provides space for people across the world to launch virtual fireworks on September 30th, to symbolize the hope and help that is offered through different recovery pathways and allow people to celebrate their own recovery – in a way that’s unique to them – and yet still a small part of a greater whole. 

Advancing IRD’s accelerated progress requires a revitalized sense of community from person-to-person gatherings or screen-to-screen hangouts, “around the world, the recovery movement is gaining traction and depth. We are thrilled to continue International Recovery Day and support equitable access to recovery for any human being who wants it. At Faces & Voices, we envision a global recovery movement that knows no bounds, borders, or barriers”, says Phil Rutherford, Chief Operating Officer, Faces & Voices of Recovery. 

Whether anyone or any group participate launching virtual fireworks or illuminating landmarks and buildings purple, International Recovery Day reminds us that “Recovery is for Everyone” and engaging and celebrating recovery extends well beyond a single person. 

Thank you for supporting us in our efforts and advocacy for a brighter future for all. 


For more information, visit and 


Emily Porcelli, Marketing and Communications 

Faces & Voices of Recovery  


2021 ARCO Programmatic Evaluation Report

January 11, 2022

In February of 2020, I began my position with Faces & Voices of Recovery. With experience in grassroots organizing, working with RCOs and state systems, and peer training facilitation and curriculum development, I brought with me a passion to strengthen the national network of Recovery Community Organizations. As a woman in sustained recovery, I personally utilized peer services and had access to local RCOs. This personal experience helped to solidify my understanding of the vital role peers and RCOs have in building a foundation for recovery and across the recovery continuum journey.

I spent my first few months with the organization learning about our ARCO members. I learned from active ARCO members, members who opted to leave ARCO, and organizations who had unsuccessfully applied for membership. I sought a deeper understanding of their challenges and where Faces & Voices of Recovery, the RCO definition, and the 8 Criteria for RCOs and ARCO membership could improve. I grew my knowledge through rich and vulnerable conversations and by listening to understand. After a few short months, I submitted a proposal to complete a programmatic evaluation on our ARCO program with the intent to make changes that were responsive to challenges encountered by RCOs.

As the work on this evaluation began, Faces & Voices of Recovery became aware of how we as an organization, and many others in our national recovery network, failed to equitably represent Black; Indigenous; and people of color in our work to elevate and increase access to recovery. This was something I had already become aware of through the conversations I had been having with RCOs in our national system. The ARCO Programmatic evaluation grew from making responsive changes for developing RCOs into making responsive changes that were culturally congruent to BIPOC community members, LGBTQIA+ community members, People Who Use Drugs (PWUD), and harm reduction efforts that are inequitably welcomed and represented in recovery spaces.

A wise and brutally honest ARCO member expressed to me that Faces & Voices of Recovery, and the recovery movement as a whole, had a history of inequity and whiteness. This member had been a supporter of our organization for many years and continued to do so but was unabashed about his truth and experience as an African American, long-term recovering community member, and recovery advocate. This person committed to helping us do better if I committed to doing the work. You know who you are, and I thank you. It was with passion and empathy, along with support and access to resources to complete the ARCO Programmatic Evaluation from Patty McCarthy; Phillip Rutherford; and Joseph Hogan-Sanchez, that we began our journey to do better.

This report and the work conducted by our ARCO members is a mechanism to reevaluate our systems, embrace dialogue in the spirit of understanding, and challenge what we know to be true. It is a catalyst for change. It has changed our organization and ARCO membership, but more importantly, it has changed me, and I hope that it spurs change for you. Together, we can do better.

We are pleased to present to you the 2021 ARCO Programmatic Evaluation Report which can be accessed for online reading, downloading, and printing here.


Marianna Horowitz
Program Manager, Faces & Voices of Recovery

NRI Newsletter – October 2021

October 28, 2021

October 2021
Digital Newsletter

National Recovery Institute

The National Recovery Institute is a peer-run training and technical assistance center. Our mission is to increase the knowledge, capacity, and accountability of recovery support providers throughout the United States and territories.

The National Recovery Institute offers competency and strength-based professional development and leadership training specific to our field.  Our experienced trainers offer training accessible to all learning styles through a combination of information sharing, dialogue, and experiential activities. Through a consultative process, we will build an onsite or online training program specific to your needs.

Please check out our website for more information! We are excited to get your next training scheduled today!

More Info Here!

Mark your Calendars!

Please join us for these FREE upcoming trainings sponsored by the Opioid Response Network

RCO Bootcamp
December 7-9, 2021
10 am – 4pm EST

The RCO Bootcamp is a leadership development program for new and emerging Recovery Community Organization (RCO) directors, program managers, and board members. The Boot Camp covers all the basics to help establish policies and procedures to build the capacity of small non-profit organizations.

CEUs available

Register here!

Recovery Ambassador Training
December 14-16, 2021
10am – 4pm EST

Recovery Ambassador is a training that prepares individuals to advance public understanding and appropriate responses to addiction. The training program consists of a combination of Our Stories Have Power Recovery Messaging, the Science of Addiction & Recovery, and the Recovery Ambassador curriculum.

CEUs available

Register here!
Faces & Voices of Recovery is proud to be a NAADAC Approved Education Provider.
Reduced training rates are available for Faces & Voices Affiliates and for Members of the Association of Recovery Community Organizations (ARCO).
Join Today!

Posts from William White

The Opioid Crisis and the Black/African American Population: An Urgent Issue

April 29, 2020

The opioid crisis has not abated and has had a significant impact on African American communities.This issue brief presents recent data on prevalence of opioid misuse and death rates in the Black/ African American population; contextual factors and challenges to prevention and treatment; innovative outreach and engagement strategies to connect people to evidence-based treatment; and the importance of community voice.

Random Recovery Reflections

April 21, 2020

Some random thoughts excerpted from my journals during my recent blogging hiatus.

On Weak Recovery Definitions: At its central core, addiction recovery is a radically altered relationship between an individual and the psychoactive drugs that once dominated their life. Any definition of recovery that does not reference a change in that relationship fails on multiple levels. Recovery may be more than a radical change in that relationship, but it surely must include that change. The danger of ever more vague definitions of recovery is this: when recovery becomes everything, it becomes nothing.

Recovery is not like pregnancy—you are or you are not. It is a spectrum with variations and degrees of tone and quality as indicated by one’s own self-evaluation and by objective measures of substance use disorder (SUD) remission, global health, quality of personal and family life, and key measures of social functioning. The remission requirement is, however, key because it restricts application of the medical term “recovery” to persons whose alcohol or drug (AOD) use reached a point of severity to meet SUD diagnostic criteria. (Technically, a person cannot “recover” from a medical condition they never had.)

Pain and Hope in Addiction Recovery: What recovery promises is not a guarantee but the potential to transmute pain into a person—like base metal into gold. Pain and despair in the absence of hope is an invitation to self-destruction; pain in the presence of hope can be a life-saving catalyst and a fulcrum of personal transformation. Pain can be a messenger and an opening, but there is no deliverance without hope.

Mirror Faces of Addiction and Recovery: Recovery must be as morally redemptive as addiction is morally corrupting, as connective as addiction is alienating. Recovery must be the Janus face of addiction, offering degrees of retrieval for past losses. Daily acts of addiction erode and degrade; daily acts of recovery restore and upgrade. Addiction and recovery involve mirror processes of character deterioration and character reconstruction.

On Shallow Criticism of Mutual Aid Groups: If you would not judge a city based on your contact with one of its citizens, then why would you judge any mutual aid group based on your contact with one of its members, your exposure to a single one of its meetings, or your reading of a snippet of its literature? All recovery mutual aid groups (and all other social institutions) possess vulnerabilities, limitations, and imperfections in design and practice. Analysis of such are best made through rigorous and sustained investigation of each group’s history, literature, contemporary practices, as well as scientific and personal evaluations of relative effectiveness. Shallow and ill-targeted criticisms reveal more about the critic than the object of criticism.

On the Purposes of Recovery Community Centers: The goal is not to create a larger closet within which we can hide but rather to create recovery space within every arena of community life and to serve as a guide into those spaces. Beyond their myriad menus of recovery support services, another purpose of the recovery community center is to create a sanctuary in which people from diverse pathways of recovery can gather to commemorate their survival–as individuals and as a people.

Recovery as Sweet Revenge: Recovery can be a bold rejoinder to:

–People who believed you would never change and who reveled in your failures

–People who expressed contempt for you in their every word and gesture

–People who bolstered their own self-esteem by reveling in your decline

–People who supported your addiction because of their ability to manipulate and use you in your addicted state

–People who attempted to sabotage your early efforts to stand

For such people, your recovery will be a great disappointment and cause for confusion. Your recovery is a taunt to their disbelief and disdain. Every breath you take in recovery can be an act of sweet revenge. Breathe deeply! You don’t have to recover for a righteous reason: just recover! Defy all their expectations!

The Alchemy of Recovery: Addiction inflicts intense emotional heat and pressure. It can burn you to ash or, through the spiritual heat and pressure of recovery, transform you into a diamond.

On Awe and Wonder: There is a potential point in recovery when we stop the internal and external noise and silently experience the awe of our survival—the wonder of just being. In such moments that we can feel, perhaps for the first time, truly connected to the cycle of life. It is then time to face, with as much courage as one can muster, THE big questions: “Now what? I have survived that which has killed so many others. Why? For what purpose?”

On Recovery Representation: Local, state, national, and global discussions of addiction engage multiple stakeholders. Some have ego, status, money, institutional interests in the game, but it is only one constituency—those most directly affected by addiction—that have full skin in the game. All they are and hope to be, their very lives, can rest upon decisions made at these policymaking tables. The level of urgency and experiential knowledge they possess must be included in every policymaking venue. Nothing about us without us remains the call of recovery advocacy.

On Grief and Activism: As a society, we have yet to grasp the enormity of loss exacted by the opioid epidemic. Endless lives have been and are being silenced before their time. Our eyes have run out of tears and our stark faces tell the truth of their lost dreams. While the loss of a life to drug use or addiction is tragic in its own right, it is not nearly as tragic as the loss of their stories to shame and silence. We are powerless to alter physical death, but we are not powerless to keep alive the story of someone’s life. We can move beyond grief to activism. For those of us who survived, we must speak for the lost. We must let them speak through us. Failing that, their lives, their stories, their aspirations will be forever erased. As a token of remembrance and gratitude for our own deliverance, we can speak their names and give their lives added meaning through our service. A social death does not occur until the last person speaks their name. Whose name could you speak today?

On Rhetoric versus Action: Communities reeling from the effects of opioid addiction and related problems do not need more rhetoric, reports, and recommendations; they need more resources.

Ministry of Presence: What we can offer of greatest value is our presence and our acceptance of another person’s suffering. Then and only then can we offer our own story. Then and only then can we offer technologies of survival and recovery. Many people have ideas about recovery, speak about recovery, and write about recovery. Far fewer cultivate the capacity to listen to recovery in all its glorious varieties. That is what we must all become: recovery listeners.

Self-examination and Listening as Acts of Humility: Wisdom and humility can arise from the ashes of ignorance and arrogance, but not without rigorous self-examination and a consciously cultivated capacity for listening.

On Treatment Brokers: Beware of treatment pimps and pushers (e.g., treatment brokers) who view you as a crop to harvest for financial profit. When healers see suffering, they see the potential for recovery; when pimps see suffering, they see dollar signs.

Favorite Quotes from Recent Reading:

You can’t lead people you don’t love. You can’t rally people you don’t respect. –Van Jones

We must go where the pain and peril are greatest and the quest for real solutions is most desperate. – Van Jones

On the journey to myself I’ve been so many people.—Indigo Williams

What I am, I am; and let it be enough. –D.H. Lawrence

What good is it if we just make ourselves more holy? What’s the point? The point is to serve, to offer, to be the offering. –Bernie Glassman

“We Do Recover”: Scientific Studies of NA

April 15, 2020

Since its founding in the mid-twentieth century, Narcotics Anonymous (NA) has emerged as a major addiction recovery support resource, with more than 71,000 weekly NA meetings in 144 countries. But what is known about the effects of NA participation from the standpoint of science? To answer that question, Marc Galanter, Keith Humphreys, John Kelly, and I authored a paper analyzing the results of 227 NA-related scientific studies. That report is now available for review and free download (click HERE).

As long-tenured researchers of addiction recovery mutual aid in the United States, the authors regularly receive questions from service professionals, policy makers, and affected individuals and families about the scientific status of 12-Step and alternative groups. It is hard to sort through the rhetorical zeal (ranging from passionate support to venomous attacks) encountered within professional and public discussions of 12-Step and alternative approaches to addiction recovery mutual aid. This just-released report summarizes research data on the following questions:

When did formal scientific studies of NA begin?

What is the international scope of NA research studies? 

What is the relative growth and availability of NA in the U.S. and internationally?

Who participates in NA?

How common is 12-Step co-attendance?

How do people get to NA?

What are the major obstacles to NA participation?

What is the retention/dropout rate within NA?

What are the effects of NA participation on drug use and remission / recovery from substance use disorders?

What is the average duration of continuous recovery among NA members?

What are the major risk factors for recurrence of drug use and addiction among NA members?

What are the broader effects of NA participation on health and quality of life outcomes?

What factors related to NA participation predict substance use and quality of life outcomes?

Do such positive effects differ across demographic, cultural, and clinical characteristics?

Is NA effective in improving recovery outcomes of adolescents?

Is NA safe for adolescents and other vulnerable populations?

Is NA appropriate for people with less religious or spiritual orientation? What is the role of spirituality in NA’s program of recovery?

Is NA appropriate for people with co-occurring psychiatric illness?

How does concurrent participation in addiction treatment and NA affect long-term recovery outcomes?


NA appropriate for people in medication-assisted treatment?

What mechanisms might help explain the positive changes people experience through NA participation?

Does NA lead to isolation from mainstream community life or greater civic involvement?

What is the cost-effectiveness of NA participation?

What are the attitudes toward NA among helping professionals and addiction treatment personnel and their related referral practices?

What can treatment centers do to increase patient participation in NA?

What are the major limitations of published research on NA?

Future research will continue to illuminate questions related to the effects of NA participation on recovery outcomes. The scientific evidence we reviewed possesses both consistency and coherence. NA members and NA literature boldly assert “We do Recover.” The studies reviewed in this report provide scientific confirmation and context to that assertion. It is our hope that this analysis will offer scientific grounding to future discussions of the potential role of NA in recovery initiation and enhanced quality of life in long-term addiction recovery.

Impact of COVID-19 on ARCO Members

April 14, 2020


Medication for the Treatment of Alcohol Use Disorder: A Brief Guide

April 12, 2020

Direct involvement of physicians and other health care professionals in identifying and treating alcohol use disorder is possible, practical, and necessary. The medications described here have been shown to be effective in, and are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for, the management of alcohol dependence or the prevention of relapse to alcohol use.


  • Acamprosate calcium is indicated for the maintenance of abstinence from alcohol in patients dependent on alcohol who are abstinent at treatment initiation.
  • Disulfiram is an aid in the management of selected patients who want to remain in a state of enforced sobriety so that supportive and psychotherapeutic treatment may be applied to best advantage.
  • Oral naltrexone (naltrexone hydrochloride tablet) is indicated for the treatment of alcohol dependence.
  • Extended-release injectable naltrexone is indicated for the treatment of alcohol dependence in patients who have been able to abstain from alcohol in an outpatient setting. Learn more about Vivitrol here:


Medication for the Treatment of Alcohol Use Disorder: A Brief Guide


SOURCE: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Medication for the Treatment of Alcohol Use Disorder: A Brief Guide. HHS Publication No. (SMA) 15-4907. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2015.

Paycheck Protection Program

April 9, 2020

On April 2, 2020, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) issued an interim final rule announcing the implementation of sections 1102 and 1106 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act or the Act).

The Paycheck Protection Program and loan forgiveness are intended to provide economic relief to small businesses nationwide adversely impacted by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.

You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating in the program.

Loans under the PPP will be 100 percent guaranteed by SBA, and the full principal amount of the loans may qualify for loan forgiveness.

The Paycheck Protection Program will be available through June 30, 2020.

Expired: SAMHSA Grant Announcement

April 1, 2020

The deadline for this announcement has passed.

SAMHSA just released a grant announcement for Emergency Grants to Address Mental and Substance Use Disorders During COVID-19.  Although only States, Territories and Tribal Communities are eligible applicants, they must clearly define the direct services they will provide with the money, and should include funding for RCOs in their proposals.

One of the five options for them to select from is:

“Provide recovery support services (e.g., linkages to nutrition/food services (funds may not be used to actually purchase food/meals), individual support services (individual contact/check in by peer support personnel, faith-based groups, etc), childcare, vocational, educational, linkages to housing services, and transportation services) which will improve access to, and retention in services. Grantees must ensure the ability to provide these services virtually where needed. (Note: Grant funds may be used to purchase such services from another provider.)”

Please contact your SSA’s office as soon as possible to advocate for funding contracts to go to your RCOs.  Each state will receive up to $2 million to be used over 16 months.

The deadline for applications is April 10th!!

We encourage you to act now, TODAY, to call your contacts at your SSA’s office.

This is the fastest way to get financial support for RCOs to address the COVID-19 pandemic for the people you serve.

If you need help finding the contact person in your state, please call us at (202) 737-0690.

Introduction to Virtual Support Services

March 20, 2020

NOTE: This is a 90-minute introduction video only.  The complete 3 day training is available to be delivered to your organization either virtually or on-site through the National Recovery Institute.  For training inquiries contact

Topics covered:
– The history, benefits & types of Virtual Recovery Support Services (VRSS)
– The current environment
– Ethical considerations in the provision of VRSS
– Basics of confidentiality including HIPAA and 42 CFR Part 2

About the presenter: William Stauffer, LSW, CCS, CADC

William Stauffer is the Executive Director of Pennsylvania Recovery Organization Alliance (PRO-A), the statewide recovery community organization of Pennsylvania. He is in long-term recovery since age 21 and has been actively engaged in public policy in the recovery arena for most of those years. Mr. Stauffer is a graduate of Northampton Community College, Cedar Crest College and Kutztown University. He is also an adjunct professor of Social Work at Misericordia University in Dallas Pennsylvania. William Stauffer has initiated numerous workforce expansion initiatives for persons in recovery. A major focus of his work has been aimed at moving our entire SUD care system towards a five-year care paradigm to dramatically expand the numbers of Americans in Recovery while saving lives, resources, and communities. He is co-chair of the public policy committee for Faces & Voices of Recovery and the 2019 recipient of the Vernon Johnson Award Individual Recovery Advocate of the year.
Note: This is an overview of a multi-day training offered by the National Recovery Institute to prepare program administrators and peer workers on the implementation of Virtual Peer Recovery Support Services.

Interested in more webinars and trainings?

Check out Faces & Voices of Recovery’s National Recovery Institute. NRI delivers training, technical assistance, evaluation, research, translation, and capacity building products and services to support individuals, organizations and states on topics related to recovery support services and policy development. We are always working on the next round of groundbreaking offerings to support recovery support providers and other related entities. Learn more about how we can help you!

12-Step and Mutual Aid Group COVID-19 Statements

March 15, 2020

Heroin Anonymous


Alcoholics Anonymous




Do you have additional information to add? Please contact us.

2020 Legislative Priorities

February 29, 2020

Take action! Support our policy agenda

Investing in recovery support services will reap the economic benefits of long-term recovery, reduce the burden on the criminal justice and child welfare systems, and get people the housing, employment and educational services they need.