You can bet your ass there was a storm coming, but it not Hurricane Joaquin. It was thousands of recovery advocates marching on Washington to end the silence around addiction. The weather sucked but it didn’t stop the passion and enthusiasm of everyone involved.
Lukey (my 6 month old baby) and I arrived on Saturday afternoon.
Once I’d got him settled with a babysitter I ubered over to a sober-blogging meet-up at the fabulous Argonaut restaurant (I simply cannot rave enough about the food, it was sublime – thank you to the owners for putting on such a wonderful spread).
We all knew each other from Twitter, Facebook and our blogs but not many of us had met in person. So we all spent the first hour going ‘Oh my god you’re (insert twitter handle here) from (insert sober blog name here) – this is so weird!’ I met a ton of people who had been so kind to do Recovery Rocks interviews for my blog, including: Jake D Parent (author of ‘Only the Devil Tells The Truth’)Kelly Fitzgerald (Sober Senorita), Nancy Carr (Last Call), Chris Aguirre (Since Right Now), Laura Silverman (The Sobriety Collective), Magz Shores (Sober Courage), Holly Whitaker (Hip Sobriety), Paul Silva (Message in a bottle)
I then ubered over to the Warner Theatre with Anna David* from After Party Magazine to catch the last hour of the Greg Giraldo Comedy benefit. The highlight of this was seeing Tig Notaro a lone woman comic from the school of Poehler/Fey comedy (i.e. you can be funny without being mean or insulting). It was also great to finally meet Joe Schrank a colleague I have referred clients to over the years and Kate Meyer from I am not Anonymous.. The real highlight of the night was watching everyone’s reaction to the Unite to Face Addiction rally trailer played at the end, the crowd leaped to their feet as the sheer magnitude of what was happening began to hit us.
Unite to Face Addiction rally
What we were doing had never been done before. Uniting recovery advocacy groups as a political force to campaign for a health approach rather than a criminal justice one. The rally was spearheaded by Greg Williams who through his movie ‘The Anonymous People’ posed the question to the recovery community: ‘What are we so ashamed of? Why are we hiding in the shadows mistaking the notion of anonymity for secrecy?’
There are 23 million people in long-term recovery and nothing will change until we get together and demand it changes, and to do that we have to be public.
And public we were.
Everyone and anyone was there, supportive messages came from President Obama (via video), and the Surgeon General (in person). Pretty much every celebrity you can think of recorded an encouraging message in between performances by The Frey, Sheryl Crow, and Steve Tyler.
Prominent recovery advocates from all over the country where their sharing their stories of hope and encouragement. As well as members of Congress and Senators from both sides of the aisle.
The wind is at our backs. This is a national crisis and we have to act to save lives. Uniting in Washington this way is just the beginning. It’s what we do in our communities and personal lives now that counts because October 4th 2015 will go down as the day the silence ended.
Scroll down for more pictures of the weekend.
*A personal thank you to Anna David who lost her lovely winter hat because I was in such a rush to get back to my hotel and feed my baby. She is a true star.