I have been a “blogger” for Faces and Voices of Recovery and my community press for several years. I shared a bunch of words gathered from lived experience. I wrote and spoke my words and many times, the words of others about experiencing and finding joy in the reality of active and sustainable recovery. That description has more life than long-term recovery. Glad to join PAR blogs. I appreciated The Recovery Movement: Claiming Our Space and Our Story by Jeremy Byard, LRCC.
At a moment when many people are finding it difficult to see eye-to-eye with their fellow Kentuckians, there’s one thing we all can agree on: We must keep fighting to end addiction in the commonwealth.
This is a public health crisis that has only worsened due to the challenges of the last eight months, with substance use and overdose deaths trending in the wrong direction.
However, there is good news. Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Kentucky public officials remain committed to breaking the vicious cycle of addiction. In November, the state will submit a transformative proposal to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that, if approved, will expand access to substance use disorder treatment among some of our society’s most vulnerable and at-risk individuals: those in our criminal justice system.
When grave new challenges emerge, it would be nice if existing ones would subside. Sadly, that is just not how the world works.
In communities across the Commonwealth and throughout the U.S., mental health and addiction treatment providers are facing a new set of challenges as they continue to care for some of our population’s most vulnerable amid a global pandemic.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 67,367 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2018 — more than 1,300 of whom were here in Kentucky. While public health officials and providers battle one crisis, we cannot afford to overlook another that has been impacting our communities for years — and one that will most certainly still be here even after the COVID-19 outbreak subsides.
Every person has a different experience throughout the holiday season. Maybe you are spending it with family in or out of town. Maybe you volunteer at a local shelter to give back. Perhaps you are one of those who spend the holidays with your adoptive family. This could be close friends from your support network or other groups that you volunteer with. For those of us in recovery, the holiday season can be an emotional one. However, there is cause for celebration. Our newfound freedoms and the ability to enjoy the festivities is one that many of us have not encountered before. This holiday seasons brings a particular set of new challenges, one that necessitates us to pause.
Over the past decade a powerful recovery movement has continued to gain momentum as more and more people all across this country-from every background and socioeconomic status-courageously step away from fear and into their rightful place in their communities-claiming space, having their voices heard and weaponizing their journeys in the important fight against discrimination. Their stories of transformation, struggle, and most importantly—resilience—have created a beautiful patchwork quilt representing the actual experiences of real people. And more spaces exist today than at any other time in history built upon recovery-oriented principles specifically for people to experience recovery together, have fun, engage in activism and advocacy and stay connected to one another. Recovery Community Organizations (RCOs), recovery cafes and coffee shops, and even digital recovery platforms are now a reality. We are here. The revolution is here. And we are the revolution.
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