26th Annual Recovery Month Luncheon Commences Recovery Month
Last Thursday, the 26th Annual Recovery Month Luncheon was held at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC. Hosted by the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, Young People in Recovery, Transforming Youth Recovery, and the Association of Recovery Schools, the event served as a celebration of past achievements and the growing national momentum for changes to come.
The luncheon fell on World Suicide Prevention Day, a symbolic point that Michael Botticelli, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, noted in his opening remarks. Director Botticelli’s speech emphasized the prevalence of substance abuse disorders and their effect on people from all walks of life. Although many people struggle with addiction, Director Botticelli noted the importance of individual stories, and referenced his own path to recovery. “It’s hard to hate up close,” he and other speakers reflected throughout the luncheon. The sentiment aligned with the theme for this year’s luncheon: Visible, Valuable, Vocal.
In line with this theme, the luncheon featured a performance by “Outside the Wire”, which entailed a live reading from a play about a family faced with addiction. “Outside the Wire” uses art and theater to address pressing social issues. Organizers noted they hoped the play “will serve as a catalyst and show the power of storytelling.”
Dr. Mehmet Oz, television personality and chair of surgery at Columbia University, also spoke at the luncheon. He referenced this time as “the ‘Big Bang’ of research in mental health and addiction.” “Why do we have to wait for rock bottom?” Oz remarked. “Every movement has its renaissance and the renaissance for mental health and addiction is now.”
As he concluded his speech, he announced to the room of providers, consumers, government officials and other stakeholders, “I agree you can’t hate up close, and I pledge to shine a light on the darkness that surrounds the work that you do.”
The luncheon was a kick-off to Recovery Month activities throughout September. Recovery Month will be immediately followed by the “Unite to Face Addiction” rally on October 4th and the National Council’s annual Hill Day, to be held October 5-6 in partnership with ten other national mental health and addiction groups. Registration for Hill Day is free and available to all individuals. For more details, see our website.