Last week while in Washington DC for an Alcohol Policy Conference, I had the honor of visiting the offices of Senators Feinstein, Boxer, and Congresswoman Pelosi to ask for their support enforcing the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. That law, passed in 2008, has yet to be funded and therefore has not been implemented nor enforced. Without parity, those of us seeking insurance coverage for treatment and recovery services are not given sufficient information as to why our reimbursement claims are not being honored – as they should be.
And while it is heartening and monumental that CARA – the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act recently passed the Senate by a vote of 94 to 1, and hopefully the House will quickly follow suit; without funding to address this public health crisis, these laws are nothing more than an acknowledgment and acceptance of dire injustice.
How is it possible that today more than 40 million Americans are suffering from addiction (their own or a loved ones), and they have virtually no hope of finding help? This deadly disease of the brain is destroying families, wreaking havoc in communities and taking young lives as if it were a medieval plague… But it’s not. There are solutions. There is treatment. Long-term recovery is possible!
At Center for Open Recovery, we believe stigma, shame and discrimination are the barriers preventing our brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, daughters and sons from getting the help they need and deserve.
We must eliminate these barriers. And we can!
There are hundreds of thousands of people in the San Francisco Bay Area who are living proof that recovery from addiction is possible.
Most of us in recovery at one time or another had to face our demons and in spite of shame do whatever it took to get well.
These battles, though deeply personal, were not in fact that unique. Each of us has an understanding of what it takes to recover and can be an inspiration and guide for someone else. How can they find us if we are silent and invisible?
Until now, the recovery community in the Bay Area has yet to come forward or be mobilized.
We believe it is time now to use our voices, resources, and influence to end discrimination in order to reach those who are still struggling in isolation and darkness so they too can find freedom from addiction and live life in recovery.
By coming together as a community, we can share the power of transformation, the promise of recovery and the pride of our journeys. Remaining silent can no longer be an option. There is no need to worry about breaking anonymity – for we speak as individuals, not as representatives – and our collective voice can carry the message that denial must end and help is here.
We can reach individuals, influence policy, create opportunities, strengthen communities, support mental health and demand recovery parity. There is much to do. And it’s time to do our part.
COR is so grateful to our many community partners who are joining us on May 1st to celebrate recovery and to strengthen our commitment to ending stigma. We invite the Senators and Congresswoman to join us as well!
Please be a part of Road to Recovery 5K hosted by COR and presented by The Mortar Foundation as a volunteer, participant, advocate, sponsor, champion, cheerleader and friend committed to ending shame and opening recovery!