Mike Barry Receives First Ever Recovery Champion Award

June 29, 2021 By People Advocating Recovery

Congratulations to Mike Barry, CEO of PAR-People Advocating Recovery, who recently received the first ever Recovery Champion Award from the Kentucky School of Alcohol & Other Drug Studies at Eastern Kentucky University.

Over the years, Mike has served as a tremendous messenger for the recovery movement, not just in Kentucky but across the United States. Following a successful career in broadcasting and journalism, Mike now travels the country to educate others about addiction, treatment and long-term recovery.



The Kentucky School of Alcohol & Other Drug Studies at Eastern Kentucky University provides a professional learning and networking environment for those working in the behavioral health field (mental health and substance use), as well as those from Education, Advocacy, Corrections/Criminal Justice, Public Health and many others.
Sessions cover a variety of topics including Prevention, Treatment, Assessing for Suicide Risk, Self-Care, Trauma and Resilience, Working with Children and Families, etc.

About The Recovery Champion Award

Presented by the Department of Behavioral Health and The Kentucky School of Alcohol and Other Drug Studies, The Recovery Champion Award is meant to recognize someone who has embodied and demonstrated dedication and outstanding leadership in the state of Kentucky. For the Recovery Champion award, that dedication and leadership is in advancing recovery support services within the state.




About Mike Barry

Mike Barry is a person in long-term recovery whose dynamic leadership has brought awareness to Kentucky’s recovery community. Mike is a founding board member of Addiction Recovery Advocates of Kentuckiana (ARAK) that later became People Advocating Recovery. PAR’s mission is to reduce discrimination for those in recovery from substance use disorders and help those still seeking recovery. Mike has nurtured People Advocating Recovery as it has grown from a group of five hard-working individuals to a 5,000 member statewide organization.

Mike served as the past Chair and founding board member of Faces and Voices of Recovery, a national advocacy organization supporting long-term recovery. He worked with The Healing Place and Beacon House in Louisville as an Advocacy & Outreach Director and Executive Director.

Mike has demonstrated not only dedication to advancing recovery support services, but mentored organizations throughout the Commonwealth to be engaged in leadership in the recovery space, ensuring sustainability of his efforts. His unique combination of talent, energy and devotion has placed Mike Barry at the heart of this movement, leaving a legacy for those who follow in his footsteps.

Mike has been an integral part of the Kentucky School for Alcohol and Other Drug studies for 15 years. He worked to bring experts to Kentucky who advance the care of those with a substance use disorder. Mike worked diligently over the years to educate stakeholders about the resilience of the recovery community and gave a voice to those who could not speak for themselves. Mike led the Mike Townsend Leadership Academy for 15 years. The leadership academy trains and empowers people from all community spaces and sectors to be leaders in advocating for and implementing progressive approaches to support recovery.

Kentucky is unquestionably lucky to have such a staunch expert in the field of recovery. We could not be more pleased to name this award after a member of the recovery community who exemplifies what it means to be a leader and a mentor. From this point forward, the award will be known as the Mike Barry Recovery Champion award in honor of a tireless advocate for Kentucky residents in recovery. It sets a precedent for future awardees who follow Mike’s commitment to improving the lives of those in Kentucky’s recovery community.


Links To Organizations Mentioned In This Article

  • Addiction Recovery Advocates of Kentuckiana (ARAK) – became People Advocating Recovery
  • Beacon House – https://beaconhouseky.org/
  • Faces and Voices of Recovery – https://facesandvoicesofrecovery.org/
  • Kentucky Department of Behavioral Health – https://dbhdid.ky.gov/kdbhdid/
  • Kentucky School of Alcohol & Other Drug Studies at Eastern Kentucky University – http://kyschool.eku.edu/
  • Mike Townsend Leadership Academy – https://peopleadvocatingrecovery.org/michael-e-townsend-leadership-academy/
  • PAR-People Advocating Recovery – https://peopleadvocatingrecovery.org/
  • The Healing Place – https://www.thehealingplace.org/
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