They gathered in Downtown Cape Girardeau, Missouri and walked down Broadway to Capaha Park. They walked to Pittsburgh's Market Square. And they walked among the tombstones of Upper Darby, Pennsylvania's Arlington Cemetery. Yes, all across the country people you know are gathering together in order to walk for recovery. The goal? To raise awareness of substance abuse disorder, to de-stigmatize addiction and to advocate for the recovery community. And, yes, in some cases, they walk in order to remember those who were lost before they could receive successful addiction treatment.
Mostly though, they gather and walk so that others may follow in their footsteps.
"Addiction doesn't have a certain face," Margie Fowler told upper Missouri's CBS affiliate KFVS. "It has no certain class. It's not poor, it's not middle and it's not upper. It's all classes and all faces. I'm a grandmother and I'm in recovery. I'm proud and no matter who you are, you can have recovery."
Indeed. And no matter who you are, you can advocate for recovery too.
Take Missouri state Representative Holly Lehder, who was also on hand for Cape Girardeau's 3rd Annual Substance Use Recovery Walk. The Republican legislator spearheaded the state's first ever needle exchange program, as well as The Narcotics Control Act, which would institute a statewide Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. (Amazingly, Missouri is the only state in the nation without a PDMP.) In fact state Rep Lehder's so involved with the substance abuse issue that her Twitter profile says she's "fighting to end the stigma of addiction."
So too all the great good folks behind Pittsburgh Recovery Walk. The Recovery Walk, which is also in its third year, takes place within the city's famed Golden Triangle. And it was there where a crowd of over two thousand carried recovery's vital message.
"The Pittsburgh Recovery Walk celebrates the many roads to recovery from addiction and all those who have traveled them," says its website. "It aims to dispel negative stigma and recognize recovery as a positive force in our community."
In Upper Darby, it was the town’s first Drug Prevention and Education Community Day. At its heart, reports Delco Times, was the Andy Forever Overdose Awareness Walk, the solemn stroll through the grounds of Arlington Cemetery for people to remember loved ones who have lost their lives to drugs. The walk’s named for Charles “Andy” Bruhn, who lost his life to an overdose in April 2017. And it's an effort of Andy Forever, the nonprofit organization started by Andy's mom Stacy. It's also important to note that Andy stands for Addiction Never Defines You.
Among those joining Andy's mom for the recovery walk and talk were Delaware County District Attorney Katayoun Copeland, Pennsylvania state Rep. Jamie Santora, Upper Darby Mayor Tom Micozzie and Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood, who all provided their own perspectives about community outreach in this drug scourge.
“The issue impacts us as a community, it impacts individuals, families,” said Superintendent Chitwood. “I truly believe this horrible disease of addiction has not impacted every family in America in some way, shape or form. We see it in the streets of Upper Darby all of the time."
Recovery Boot Camp is heartened to see these Americans all join together to walk for recovery. And we sincerely believe their efforts will not only help erase the stigma of addiction, but they'll also help addicts get much-needed addiction treatment. Above all, we believe each and every walk for recovery will serve as a celebration for those who are winning the fight against addiction.
On September 22nd, there'll be a massive walk for recovery in Philadelphia. PRO-ACT (Pennsylvania Recovery Organization—Achieving Community Together), is behind the effort, as well as The Council of Southeast Pennsylvania. Over 27,000 recovery supporters walked in 2017; this year promises an even larger turnout. For more information go to Recovery Walks.