The Recovery Advocacy Movement is a group of people who are committed to altering the public and professional attitudes of addiction recovery. This social movement aims to support recovery-focused policies and programs in an effort to break intergenerational cycles of addiction and related problems. According to the National Recovery Advocacy Movement (NRAM) there are more than 100 grassroot recovery community organizations (RCOs) all of whom are committed to this movement. State & local RCOs are represented by the Association of Recovery Community Organizations.
NRAM has outlined the major strategies of the movement which include:
- Creating a collective community so that people in recovery, family members, friends, and allies can express their voices regarding concerns, recovery support needs, and build a national forum focused on community service.
- Advocating at the local, state, federal levels regarding recovery issues.
- Ensuring, adequacy and quality of local treatment and recovery support services.
- Raising awareness, and educating public, policymakers, and service providers about long-term addiction recovery.
- Expanding resources (both human and financial) available for addiction treatment, recovery support services, and recovery advocacy.
- Building recovery community centers that make recovery accessible, normalized, and establish a setting for non-clinical, peer-based recovery support services and activities.
- Organize recovery celebration events (i.e., marches, rallies, concerts) that offer living proof of the power of recovery.
- Support research that further understands the pathways, process, stages, and styles of long-term personal/family recovery.
Since 2015, NRAM has achieved:
- Massive mobilization with the creation of more than 100 local RCOs, successful media messaging and outlets, increasing number of participants, and ritualization of recovery celebration events.
- Increased representation in the NRAM community among women, people of color, members of the LGBTQIA and other marginalized groups.
- On-going scientific surveys to understand public attitudes toward addiction recovery.
- Policy advocacy efforts which have contributed to the passage of several acts (i.e., Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act and the Affordable Care Act, Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015) along with the removal of discriminatory laws and regulation for people who are in addiction recovery.
- Increased professional influence which has resulted in consensus on the definition of recovery, progress towards removing stigmatizing language (i.e., abuse, clean/dirty, alcoholic, addict) from the addiction field’s language, a change in treatment models to extend beyond acute care and move towards sustained recovery management, legitimizing the need for research in understanding recovery, along with an increase in peer-reviewed recovery research journals, and expansion of funding for recovery services.
- Growth of RCOs, recovery community centers, recovery residences, recovery high schools and collegiate recovery programs, recovery industries, recovery industries, recovery cafes and other social venues giving people in a recovery a place to go and connect with peers.
- Creating a culture of recovery with symbols, rituals, art, films, theatre, music, and social media presence.
- Expansion of the recovery advocacy movement as it expands to Canada, the UK, South America (i.e., Brazil), South Africa, Japan, and Australia.
Advocacy is important for recovery from addiction because it helps to raise awareness about the challenges faced by individuals with addiction and their families, and it works towards reducing stigma surrounding addiction. Advocacy can also help to promote policies and programs that support individuals in recovery and prevent addiction in the first place.
There are many ways in which advocacy can support recovery from addiction, a few of which include:
- Advocacy can help to reduce stigma: Stigma can make it difficult for individuals with addiction to seek treatment and support. Advocacy efforts can help to reduce stigma by promoting a better understanding of addiction as a treatable illness.
- Advocacy can help to promote access to treatment: Access to treatment can be a major barrier for individuals with addiction. Advocacy can help to promote policies and programs that improve access to treatment, including insurance coverage, funding for treatment programs, and increased availability of medication-assisted treatment.
- Advocacy can help to promote recovery-friendly workplaces: Many individuals in recovery struggle to find and maintain employment due to discrimination and lack of understanding from employers. Advocacy can help to promote recovery-friendly workplaces that support individuals in recovery.
- Advocacy can help to promote research: Research is critical for improving our understanding of long-term recovery and developing more effective support systems. Advocacy efforts can help to promote funding for recovery research and increase public awareness of the importance of research.
Overall, advocacy is an important part of the effort to address addiction and support recovery. By working together to promote policies and programs that support individuals in recovery, we can help to reduce the impact of addiction on individuals, families, and communities, along with promote healthier communities.
April 27, 2023 marks Recovery Advocacy Day at the Nevada legislature. Join the discussion on zoom at 9:00 a.m. Sign-up today!
The Nevada Recovery PAC is actively working to reduce stigma, ensure fair housing, create and expand recovery pathways, increase visibility of people’s lived experience who are in recovery, and supporting harm reduction that is based in human rights. Check out their 2023 Platform.