Q: It sounds like we can be advocates as long as we don't mention our twelve-step groups. Isn't that still harmful?
A: Absolutely not. There is a long and rich tradition of people in recovery speaking out as advocates. It's one way to let our friends and neighbors put a face on recovery. In fact, Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob were on the founding board of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), the nation's oldest advocacy group. Bill Wilson remembered this important event in a 1958 Grapevine article;
Then came Marty Mann (NCADD Founder). As a recovered alcoholic, she knew that public attitudes had to be changed, that alcoholism was a diseased that alcoholics could be helped. She developed a plan for an organization to conduct a vigorous plan of public education and to organize citizen's committees all over the country. She brought the plan to me. I was enthusiastic...
Q: If I recovered through Alcoholics Anonymous or another twelve-step group, how do I talk about my recovery in the media without referring to AA or my mutual support group?
A: Faces & Voices of Recovery has developed language that you can use to talk about your recovery that doesn't mention any particular pathway.
Q: How can I get involved?
A: There are many ways that you can speak out and get involved.
Each person supports recovery in his or her own way. You can:
* Get training and tell you recovery story.
* Join a recovery advocacy organization in your community.
* Educate yourself about the issues.
* Volunteer and provide recovery support to people returning to your community from treatment or incarceration.
* Provide financial support for recovery advocacy in your community.
* Write letters, call or visit with your elected officials.
The most important thing is to get started. Here are some common sense things to think about as you move forward.
* Now recovering person should advocate publicly if his or her sobriety, job or financial well-being will be put into jeopardy.
* No recovering person should advocate at the level of public media unless he or she has two years of recovery.
* You may disclose your identity and speak as a person in long-term recovery so long as your membership in a particular program of recovery is not revealed.
Here is another thought from Bill Wilson to keep in mind as we proceed together:
So let us hasten to work alongside those projects of promise to hasten the recovery of millions who have not yet found their way out. These varied labors do not need our special endorsement; they need only a helping hand, when, as individuals, we can possibly give it.
Advocacy with Anonymity
Friends of Recovery Rockland