Recovery Month 2016 comes to an end for another year. Unfortunately this year we have seen unprecedented levels of disinvestment in treatment and recovery support services and the highest levels of drug related deaths ever recorded and demand for our advocacy and training services has continued to grow. Despite this, during the last month, the 27th international Recovery Month, more people than ever before across the UK have organised local events celebrating the fact that recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs is a lived reality in their lives.

Congratulations to everyone who took part or held an event. What a wonderful journey it’s been. This year more than ever we have seen individuals from all across the UK share their stories, people from all walks of life being touched by addiction in a myriad of different ways, talking openly about their despair and journey to hope. We have seen again that recovery meant something different to each and every one of us. For some, recovery simply means greeting each day without being dependent on substances or a compulsive behaviour. For others, it means being a present family member, good friend and a person that’s loving and kind to themselves.

At our conference this year we remembered what its like loving someone who struggles with addiction. With so much focus placed on the person who’s struggling with a substance use disorder, their friends and loved ones often feel lost and very alone in the struggle. We were reminded how a solid support system can make or break someone’s recovery and how much it means to them to know they are unconditionally loved and the subject of “enabling” was tackled with compassion and love.

The one overwhelming message for Recovery  Month 2016 from those of us who are in recovery conveyed to those who supported us through the darkest times of our lives, and that was “Thank You for Never Giving Up!”
We received a small grant from the National Lottery to make a short film tackling negative stereotypes, myths and stigma about addiction which has been shown around UK at Recovery Month events.

You can see the film on our website and here, please feel free to screen it where you can. We were delighted at the response this film has received with well over 100k views across the world now, the positive response is more than we could have ever have hoped for so thank you for sharing it with your friends and family too.

We received significantly less sponsorship funding this year for the UK Recovery Walk than in previous years and yet it was the biggest and best so far, thanks to the generous nature of the good people of Halton and Halton Borough Council with over 6,000 people in long term recovery, their friends and families, making visible the viable and varied recovery solutions for addiction to alcohol and other drugs. A special thank you to all of this year’s UK Recovery Walk sponsors, and especially to Halton Borough Council for hosting the event at the magnificent Halton Stadium. The theme of this year’s FAVOR UK annual conference was “Families and Recovery” and we heard about the work of national and local professional and mutual aid organisations supporting families affected by addiction and advocating for policy changes and funding to support families. You can here presentations from the conference here and here we will upload the film of the day as soon as we have it.

As austerity continues it is becoming apparent that the state can no longer guarantee effective, high quality treatment for all and we are hearing of funding cuts to services across the UK and in England of up to 40%. There has never been a more important time for Recovery Communities to stand up and speak out and become politically engaged. We need to highlight the fact that every day in the UK people in long term recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs freely volunteer their time to help others and make their communities better places to live and are one of the greatest assets local communities have. Information and advice on telling our stories and engaging with local media can be found in our Recovery Month toolkit “Visible, Vocal, Valuable” which can be downloaded free from our website here

We are currently discussing with partners several projects for the next 12 months to support the UK Recovery Community and will release details during the year ahead. Finally, on behalf of the UK recovery Community, I would like to thank our Trustees, our financial sponsors and our amazing team of over 300 volunteers, without who’s enthusiasm, purpose and dedication we would not be able to fulfil our mission as the largest recovery advocacy and member organisation in the UK and custodians of the famous UK Recovery Walk. We look forward to seeing you next year in Blackpool 2017, to celebrate the achievements of individuals in recovery and acknowledge the work of prevention, treatment, and recovery support services. Why not visit our website to find out more, download some of our free resources and even join the charity (it’s free) and support our work:

Annemarie Ward
Chief Exec, Faces and Voices of Recovery UK