Only one word can describe this week-end for me: mind-blowing
This is the UK Recovery Movement at the Castlefield Bowl in Manchester following the UK Recovery Walk. There were so many people and it was packed with smiling happy clean and sober people. So many shared their experience, hope and joy from their recovery. From a 19 year old who was 5 months sober, to a lady who’d been sober for 28 years, to two mothers in recovery who had both lost son’s in the last two weeks – one to recreational drugs. So much love and laughter, tears and sadness. Everyone involved was in recovery whether they were marching or playing music on the stage. One of the band’s singers shared how he had been in cardiac failure following 3 stints in rehab in one year and how now he had been sober for 2 years and what a gift it was to be playing in this band at this event.
The recovery advocacy movement is relatively new in the UK and I was lucky enough to meet it’s CEO, Annemarie Ward who has been in long term recovery for 16 years. I love their message of hope and joy and completely embrace their approach of visible recovery. If people can see you living happily in recovery then this is a motivator for others. And this is what we do out here on the sober blogs. You may not be able to see my face but you hear my voice, stories and experience. Research into people in long-term recovery show that they have higher levels of well-being than the general populace and recovery can bring new purpose and meaning to lives. Again this reflects how I feel.
They have just launched their ‘Advocacy Toolkit’ which you can access on their website here: http://www.ukrecoverywalk.org/advocacy-toolkit-england/. I have become a member of this charity and would encourage you to do the same if you are a UK resident. They are working hard to change the face of recovery and addiction in this country and they have a way of presenting the recovery message which really resonates with me too, so for me I would say:
‘I’m Lou, and I am in long term recovery, which means that I have not drank alcohol for more than 12 months (next week!). I am committed to recovery because it has given me and my family new purpose and hope for the future, while helping me gain stability in my life. I am now speaking out because long-term recovery has helped me change my life for the better, and I want to make it possible for others to do the same’
5 days to go
PS Veronica Valli and I have now sorted out the technical quality issues of talking to each other across the Atlantic and will be starting a Skype interview series in the next two weeks. One of the first topic of conversations will be The Advocacy in Action conference, Manchester’s dry bar ‘The Umbrella Cafe’ and this walk that I attended this week-end where I can convey in a much more engaging way just how big a deal this week-end was!! 😉
Edited to add: a video has now been uploaded to Youtube of the UK Recovery Walk which I’ve added in above.