On Wednesday, February 17, 2016 the Vermont Association for Mental Health and Addiction Recovery (VAMHAR) and Friends of Recovery Vermont (FOR-VT) held our 18th annual Recovery Day at the Vermont State House. Wow. Hundreds of Vermonters packed the statehouse for a day filled with personal stories, advocacy, testimony before key committees, and our annual awards.
The event joyously demonstrated and proclaimed that “People Recover!” Kudos go to VAMHAR Board member and FOR-VT Chair Lee Larson for her hard-work and brilliant execution. Our community visited with and heard from a number of key state legislators. We also presented our annual Jack Barry communications award to Vermont Public Radio (VPR) for their stellar coverage of recovery in Vermont. VPR President Robin Turnau accepted the award. Governor Peter Shumlin spoke to the crowd and received our Recovery Champion Award for his career-long commitment to the power of recovery.
Recovery Time Celebration
We were thrilled with last weeks turnout to Recovery Day: Vermonters in recovery; family and friends of people in recovery and/or fighting the disease of addiction; treatment providers; recovery coaches; recovery center employees, volunteers and board members; legislators; substance abuse prevention consultants; and many other professionals working in the fields of addiction, recovery and mental health.
For Recovery Day we put together a survey to capture the total amount of recovery time in the room along with capturing what recovery means to each of the attendees at the event.
For those who completed the survey we had a total of 446 years, 7 months and 25 days of recovery in Room 11!
What Recovery Means to Me
We asked, you answered:
“Changing your way of thinking.”
“Choosing life instead of death.”
“My recovery will last my entire life. I will be recovering from my addiction. It will be an uphill battle all the way, but, with support, there will be nothing we cannot achieve. There is nothing more beautiful in this world than to see the lights come back on in someone’s eyes. It truly motivates me to want to be better and help others become better.” Thomas Weston
“Being able to be there for my family and friends.”
“Being able to share my experience, strength and hope to others struggling with addiction.”
“Being mentally and spiritually healthy. Doing things for my family, friends and community to be a positive influence and role model. Number one for me is being a loving and attentive father.” Bobby Martino
“I’ve been given back life.”
“Recovery means that you are getting through your daily life without use of your substance of choice.”
“Joy. Freedom. Healthy.”
“A whole new life.”
“Having a life with all of the pieces in place: healthy relationships, strong support systems, creative and physical outlets, spirituality, responsibility.”
“It is a journey toward wellness.”
“Recovery means there is light at the end of the long dark tunnel of addiction. Fake it till you make it.” Gladys
“Having a life of unimaginable meaning, peace of mind and health.”
“Getting my life back.”
“Taking responsibility for pain given to us by someone or something else.”
“Recovery means to me that someone has moved away from their addiction to a world of recovery absent drugs/alcohol. Wellness is job one, along with finding their unique recovery path.”
“Giving back to others.”
“Everything.” Melanie Hudson
“20 years of working with people in recovery.”
“A renewed sense of wonder for life!”
“For me, recovery means a chance to start over; the opportunity to get out of an impossible situation – slavery to alcohol. Health! Discovery! Being awake! A new way of life.” Julie R.
“Recovery to me means arresting my disease in order to have another chance at a better life.”
“Opportunity to have a life beyond anything I could have imagined and to be useful to others n the same journey. Grateful to be a contributor to the community – thanks to all.” Fred Z.
“I realized that people recover – me and lots and lots of other people!!”
“A second chance.”
“The freedom to enjoy my life and my children. Being a positive member of society.” Sue Ann Christie
“To stay sober and to help others in recovery.”
“Working toward a better life and doing the best I can.”
“To change everything about me.”
“The difference between living and dying.”
“Freedom to live a life second to none!”
“Chance to live a new life.”
“Recovery means that fewer daughters need to die.” Steve
“New beginnings, a chance to re-define my life and the lives of others. A miracle, transformation of mind, body and spirit.”
“Sobriety/recovery in short is a chance to ask for help when it is needed to assist others when available, and to stay out of trouble in between.” T.E.
“Life. Sanity. Future.”
“Recovery has given me wings to fly; it has enabled me to become the person I always wanted to be but never believed I could be. The recovery community is made up of the most generous, courageous, thoughtful, inspiring people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.” Raina Lowell
“If there were not places like the Turning Point I don’t know if I would be alive today.”
“Recovery is about healing, hope and the fullness of our gifts into the world.”
Your Participation is Powerful. Thank you.