“People in recovery have seen first hand that addiction is a great equalizer of men and women from all walks of life. Recovery is a humbling experience requiring reconciliation and forgiveness; firstly to self and then to others. Reaching out to others struggling with addiction is a common thread among those in recovery. 

In spite of the negative perception that recovery is not possible, there are millions of Canadians who are proof that recovery is possible. Like other illnesses, each life in recovery is a powerful example of hope to individuals, families and society. 

Faces and Voices of Recovery Canada is changing the playing field. This organization’s focus is to celebrate recovery from addiction, to break down stigma and establish a platform for change.”

– Linda Bell, CEO, Bellwood Health Services

The issue that keeps many people trapped in addiction is the shame. In order to change things we have to change perceptions. The societal belief that there is something weak about a person with an addiction has to change, that can be achieved with education.  To give a person who has an addiction hope; hope that they can be free, hope that they can get better, hope that they will be accepted by others and hope that life will be full and exciting; that hope comes from example.

I am blessed to be in long term recovery, I have been drug and alcohol free since 1972.  One of the things that made it possible and acceptable for me to start that journey was the fellow that lived across the street from me when I was growing up.  He was a member of a recovery group in our little town and he didn’t hide that, he was also respected and a very friendly and humble man.  His example gave me hope that it would be OK.

Faces and Voices of Recovery has the potential and the power to do that same thing for many people.

– Rand Teed B.A., Bed., ICPS, Creator of  Drug Class Education and Prevention Program.

As a veteran marathoner, Ironman triathlete and senior physician specializing in Addiction Medicine, I have become aware of a striking paradox.  Along the courses of all the great races are groups of cheering fans holding banners and signs as well as competitors wearing shirts emblazoned with prominent logos announcing non-profit societies dedicated to fighting specific illnesses.  They convey two important messages about common chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and breast cancer:  1) These common, chronic conditions afflict many people, and; 2) People can and do survive and even recover when and if they receive the right kinds of help from others.

Yet as an academic and research-savvy physician with nearly 40 years spent in the trenches diagnosing and treating all sorts of medical and psychiatric disorders, I am surprised by a glaring discrepancy.   Over 6 million Canadians will, during their lives, develop a substance use disorder making it a much bigger public health problem than most other psychiatric and medical diseases.  Not only does it ruin the lives of those afflicted, but it also harms many others.  But compared to the other chronic diseases, addiction is one of the most treatable.   With improved awareness, education and early intervention, followed by a growing variety of evidence-based treatments, we see remarkably high rates of successful abstinent remission from even severe addiction.   Yet we, the recovering survivors and family members of this illness, are not to be seen out there beating the drum for recovery from the disease of addiction.  Why not??

It is time we had an attitude adjustment from shameful concealment to hopeful celebration.  In January 2015, a National Summit on Recovery from the Disease of Addiction was held in Ottawa. This historic meeting produced a Vision Statement and a set of Principles to help guide us as we move recovery from addiction out from the shadows into broad daylight where it may grow and flourish.

Faces and Voices of Recovery Canada is one of the organizations dedicated to this cause.   Please join me in supporting this worthwhile movement.

– Ray Baker MD,Associate Clinical Professor UBC (Medicine), Sustained Recovery (29years) from Addiction

The research evidence is clear – we need to focus on peoples’ strengths rather than deficits to support them in their wellness journey. Faces & Voices of Recovery Canada does just this – it works to reduce the stigma of something everyone in our country is potentially impacted by – addiction. Join the celebration of your family members, friends, colleagues and neighbors recovery today! 

– Colleen Anne Dell, PhD, Professor and Research Chair in Substance Abuse, University of Saskatchewan


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