On Tuesday September 24, rtor.org Resource Specialists Denise Vestuti and Kim O’Rielly, and Laurel House Mobile Employment Specialist Greg Dunn, joined a group of over 200 people who joyously gathered at Mitchell’s in Westport, CT for Communities 4 Action’s 6th Annual Recovery Celebration in recognition of National Recovery Month. This community-wide event was conceived by Ingrid Gillespie, Executive Director of Communities 4 Action, with the simple idea that recovery from alcohol and other drug addictions deserves to be celebrated and that people in recovery have every reason to be proud. The theme of this year’s celebration “Emerging Recovery Partners: Together We are Stronger” was reflected in the wide array of attendees – which included municipal officials, local faith and business leaders, substance abuse and mental health treatment providers, people in recovery and their families, and prevention advocates.
In appreciation of the critical role the wider community plays in supporting recovery, four organizations were honored for their exemplary and pioneering leadership. Honorees included Mitchells Stores for demonstrating what is means to be a recovery friendly business, the City of Danbury for becoming the first recovery friendly municipality in Connecticut, and Stamford Health and Norwalk Hospital for launching recovery coach initiatives within their emergency departments.
The Vice Chairman of Mitchell Stores, Bill Mitchell who is well known for his tireless efforts for recovery-related causes, joyfully accepted the honor. Mitchell, in long-term recovery himself, has hired people in recovery, and supported them as they worked to rebuild their lives from the ruins of addiction. Bill reflected on their company’s philosophy that “We are proud to open our stores to support recovery. We believe in recovery and we believe in helping people. “
Accepting the honor for the City of Danbury as the only community in Connecticut that officially welcomes recovery, Mayor Mike Boughton urged other municipalities to do the same. He stated that “with the Opioid Crisis at our doorsteps like a tidal wave, if government can’t help people in crisis then what the hell is government good for?”
In the past year two local hospitals, Stamford Health and Norwalk Hospital, have introduced Recovery Coach Initiatives into their emergency departments. This program, developed by the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR), connects individuals in emergency departments for opioid overdoses or other drug and alcohol crisis with skilled recovery coaches. Receiving the honor on behalf of Stamford Health, Ellen Komar, RN, Senior VP, Patient Care Services & Chief Nursing Officer, reflected that they have seen significant and positive results of this program and that she is “moved by the compassion, outreach, and the hope the recovery coaches provide.”
Master of Ceremonies John Hamilton, President and CEO of Liberation Programs, shared that although nationally, we continue to lose more people each year from drug overdose than from car accidents and breast cancer combined, Connecticut in making progress and the evening’s gathering demonstrated that recovery is possible and is something to be celebrated. “At the end of the day, the community is the healer. Recovery is all about connection and we have people here tonight who let those people who are struggling know that they are not alone. And we are here to give them hope.”
If you or someone you know experiences mental health issues, it is important to seek help from a qualified professional. Our Resource Specialist can help you find expert mental health resources to recover in your community. Contact us now for more information on this free service to our users.
The opinions and views expressed in this guest blog do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in this article or linked to herein.