Awareness of the opioid epidemic has increased dramatically in the past few years, both across our state and our country. The pain and powerlessness of those addicted to opiates, alcohol, and other drugs is being pulled out of the shadows and acknowledged for what it actually is: a disease. With heightened awareness, policies and attitudes are beginning to shift. However, change takes time, and we continue to hear daily of individuals and families who continue to struggle.
We hear much less about the thousands of people across Massachusetts who have escaped the grasp of addiction and are now living lives free from alcohol and other drugs. They are living in recovery. September 14th, 2016 was Recovery Day in Massachusetts and folks in recovery and supporters from across the state gathered in Boston to celebrate and raise awareness. People of all ages, races, backgrounds, and lengths of sobriety showed up for a march through the city and a rally at Faneuil Hall. As over 1,000 people marched through Boston Common and before the statehouse, chants of “This is what recovery looks like!” rang out with pride. Signs reading “I am in recovery for 30 days” and “I am in recovery for 25 years” dotted the crowd.
Laughter, tears, and hugs dominated the 26th Annual Recovery Day, hosted by Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery (MOAR) and the MA Bureau of Substance Abuse Services (BSAS). Stories of regret and pain of the past were shared, but an even greater mood of gratitude, hope, pride, and freedom defined the day.
Speakers at the event addressed the issue of addiction in many ways: House Speaker Robert DeLeo from the MA House of Representatives, MA Department of Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh voiced continued commitment to recovery and ending the opioid epidemic. An Ostiguy Recovery High School student—9 months sober—told her story of addiction and recovery; Recovery Coaches shared the ways they can provide vital support to those newly in recovery. The messages of the day were loud and clear:
- Recovery from addiction is possible;
- There are many paths to recovery and in recovery;
- Recovery is best done with others and there are many supports in place here in Massachusetts to get into treatment and live in recovery.
The Helpline knows that treatment works and recovery from addiction is possible. If you or someone you care about has a problem with alcohol or other drugs, call us at 800-327-5050 or visit our website to get on the road to recovery.