The first UK recovery walk took place in liverpool on the 26th of September 2009. It was organised by Jacquie Johnston-Lynch and Recovery Community members from Liverpool and the North-West. Nearly a 1000 people walked amongst a sea of purple and yellow with flags, banners, klaxons, drums and folk singing. Loads of people laughing and dancing out in the middle of Liverpool town centre.
The Lord Mayor of Liverpool kicked off the event and I remember him saying “The power of one addict helping another is inspirational and unequalled.”
Simon Jenkins, a long serving member of the mutual aid recovery community, gave a short inspiring speech and everyone responded to him with great love and appause. Jac had asked me to speak too and I told a little of my own recovery journey, reading out a couple of messages of support from across the water from our friends in recovery William White and Pat Taylor of FAVOR.
The RAUCOUS CAUCUS RECOVERY CHORUS performed a few tunes and I remember Mel Bowen from the Spider Project singing and leading a singalong with the whole crowd but I cant remmeber for the life of me what we were singing. It may have been the Beatles song; all you need is love, but whatever it was it was a fantastic feeling to be part of it all.
A young lady sang the song Hero and dedicated it to her dad who had died of a drug- related cause and I remember being very touched as her mum and granddad, who are both in recovery, were standing watching her with great pride.
I was then given the baton of hope to carry the walk to Glasgow and everyone present made a commitment to go Scotland, which they did.
At the end of the march the Big Issue sellers did an art installation and Simon gathered everyone into a huge circle to remember those who had lost their lives through addiction and alcoholism. This was followed by a huge Serenity Prayer in the centre of Chinatown. I remember lots of folk coming out of the pubs and clubs to cheer us on.
Later on in the evening there was a wonderful concert with artists, bands and spoken word performers from all over the North-West who where in recovery and then finally a disco and we all danced into the wee small hours.
It really was a momentous occasion and Jac and co set the standard for the walk in Glasgow very high.
Liverpool: where it all began.
Did you go to this walk? If you have any photographs, memories, stories or would like to be involved in this year’s Birmingham Recovery Walk 2013, please get in touch!