out of the shadows and #recoveroutloud

Shadow:
an area of darkness created when a source of light is blocked
(Miriam Webster)

As I stared through watery eyes at pictures of a rainbow splattered White House last evening, I was moved like never before by the magnificent power contained in a critical mass courageously stepping out of the shadows.

I thought of all the small acts of bravery that many individuals performed and considered the immense personal risks that many individuals took.  I thought about the ridicule some faced and about the others who may have lost their jobs, found themselves shunned by their families, misunderstood by their friends or judged by their communities.  I marveled at how despite these significant challenges, many still stepped out of the shadows and boldly stood in and for their truth.  The results of this boldness and authenticity are as clear as the red, yellow, green, purple and blue lights that illuminated the walls of the White House last night.  Change happened, and quite literally, the light of the movement shined upon the heart of America’s democracy.

I then thought to myself, “what if?”

What if another social issue near and dear to my heart were to be met with the same critical mass courageously stepping out of the shadows? What if this other group of individuals who have been stigmatized, discriminated against and treated with far less than the equality they are promised in our Constitution were to so boldly step out of the shadows and into their truth?

What if the over 23 million Americans living in long-term recovery from addiction challenges were to come out of the shadows and let the world know of their stories and their solutions?
What if over 23 million Americans and their families, friends, communities and allies stood as one and demanded equality?

What if America could experience the light that shines so brightly inside us?

People in recovery have traveled along a heroic journey through illness and into wellness that bares great gifts for not only those who are struggling with addiction but for our country at large.  There is a gentle grace, an immense wisdom and a beautiful boon to be found within this large number of Americans and their families who have overcome addiction challenges, and it’s time for our country to come to hear this message of recovery.  There are a vast number of solutions to be found in this group, solutions to what has become the greatest public health challenge of our time – addiction.  The time is especially now for individuals, families, communities, towns, cities and states to have access to these solutions as well.

On October 4th, 2015, we have an extraordinary opportunity to step out of the shadows as one courageous critical mass and to stand in and for our truth.

“UNITE to Face Addiction is a grassroots advocacy effort organizing people, communities and organizations to face addiction and stand for recovery.” http://www.facingaddiction.org/

This event is our chance to boldly show America as one loud voice that with access to resources, treatment and support, recovery is possible.  This is our time to demand equality in healthcare and ongoing support as our right so that no longer will 350 people die each day from a preventable and treatable illness.

Imagine, just imagine if 23 million Americans stepped out of the shadows that block our light and instead boldly let it shine upon our nation?  Imagine if we really began to #RecoverOutLoud?

I hope you’ll join me on October 4th in Washington, DC as we aim to do just that.