Yesterday, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) hosted an event in honor of National Drug and Alcohol Addiction Recovery Month, called “Recovery at the White House: Celebrating 25 years.” Television journalist and recovery advocate Laurie Dhue moderated a panel of other recovery advocates who shared their personal stories about addiction, and participated in a discussion about their journeys to recovery.
The panel consisted of Cris Carter, a former NFL football player and current ESPN announcer in recovery; Christina Huffington, a young person in recovery; Ruben Castaneda, a Washington Post reporter and author of the book that chronicles his own journey to recovery, S Street Rising; and Tim Wilson, mayor of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. The panelists’ personal stories emphasized the fact that addiction is a disease—not a product of personal failings—and their accomplishments demonstrate the power of recovery in living a successful life.
“We are not bad people trying to get good—we are sick people trying to get well,” said moderator Laurie Dhue, opening the panel. “We’re not in a basement somewhere. We’re at the White House talking about addiction and recovery.” Laurie’s poignant words served as a reminder of the power of candor and community, and bolstered the message that no one has to be alone when it comes to substance use disorders.
Three women from N Street Village, a community of empowerment and recovery for women, and Theatre Lab D.C. shared an inspirational performance about recovery. “Not addicted to drugs—but addicted to life,” an evocative line during the trio’s amalgam of song and spoken-word poetry, highlighted the self-restoration that accompanies recovery.
Recovery Month, now in its 25th year, celebrates prevention, treatment, and of course recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. Recovery Month underscores the importance of mental health and addiction treatment services in promoting lives free of substance use disorders. Through Recovery Month events, the Administration spreads the positive message that people can and do recover—recognizing the accomplishments of the millions of Americans currently in recovery, and encouraging those suffering with addiction to seek the treatment necessary for improving their own lives.
For more information on National Drug and Alcohol Addiction Recovery Month, visit recoverymonth.gov or check out the Americans in Recovery Facebook page. You can watch archived video of the event here and see a Storify from the entire day.