September was the 26th International National Recovery Month where we as individuals who have reclaimed our lives can really promote and celebrate the virtues of what being in recovery actually means. We do this not just with each other but by offering ourselves as living proof of recovery, a visible presence of hope to those that still suffer whilst challenging stereotypes, judgements and myths about addiction.
Recovery month started 26 years ago in the USA and is now celebrated throughout the world. Many UK cities host their own local events and activities (over 150 this year from Aberdeen to Bristol), culminating in a recovery walk. This year, members from Calderdale attended our National Recovery Walk hosted by Durham City Council. Here is an account of the day from Richard.
This was going to be the first recovery walk I had attended and I was really looking forward to the day. I met with friends and fellow recovering addicts from TBRP Huddersfield and Halifax to board the coach to Durham. The rain began falling as the coach set off but we were not going to let this dampen our spirits, we had planned to have a jolly good time, so that’s what we were going to do!
The Basement Choir (Free Eric) were to join choirs from other services later that day in a good old sing song on the main stage in The Sands park where we assembled prior to the walk. So we warmed up our vocals on the coach and everyone joined in. The atmosphere was electric.
We alighted the coach outside the County Hall in Durham and stepped inside for a hot beverage before we were shepherded down to the meeting point by some friendly smiling stewards. Miraculously the rain had stopped and the sun began to shine.
It was a little bit chaotic as we waited for instructions but there was a real buzz from the crowds, people had travelled from all over the country to be there. Drums began to sound and this was the signal to move. And so began the walk.
The drummers led the way through the cobbled streets, as recovery revellers weaved their way, dancing, clapping and chanting through the bemused shoppers. A sea of purple had swept the city streets. And I was in the middle of it all!
The walk was a mile with many stops along the way where we continued to throw shapes whilst the drums carried on. All in all the walk was fantastic. I felt a real sense of connection and pride to be in recovery, free from my addiction to drugs and part of this wonderful community. It felt like a solution revolution.
The 2016 walk will be in Halton. Keep up to date with the next Recovery Walk on the FAVOR website.
Article featured in RecoveryTimes issue 9