Sydney Recovery from Addictions Walk
Professor Ross Fitzgerald’s speech at the end of the Sydney Recovery from Addictions Walk, outside NSW Parliament House, at noon on Sunday September 14, 2014.
“One of the reasons for today’s event is that often when alcoholics and addicts are drinking and using they hit the headlines, but as soon as they are in recovery they almost always vanish from sight. This means that a great many other alcoholics and addicts are not aware that recovery from addiction is possible and that there is hope for those who still suffer.
Last year a Ã‚Â feature-lengthÃ‚Â documentary, ‘The Anonymous People’,Ã‚Â focused on the more than 23 million Americans currently living in long-term recovery from alcohol and other drug addictions.Ã‚Â
For decades, deeply entrenched social stigma has kept the voices of recovery largely silent.
However inÃ‚Â this ground-breaking film, a cross-section of sportspeople, politicians, film stars and ordinary citizens came out publicly as recovered or recovering addicts. They explained how, though Alcoholics Anonymous and its offsprings – Ã‚Â including Narcotics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Ã‚Â andÃ‚Â other 12 step groups, they are now in stable recovery. Moreover they are proud to be so.
In Australia, under the leadership of the Rev. Bill Crews, a group of Australians in Recovery, plus family and friends, have today come out by staging this Recovery Walk in Sydney.
As September marks the beginning of Spring, a time of hope and of new growth, this seems to me to be an ideal month in Australia to celebrate recovery from various addictions.
By bringing together many types of people in recovery, our Walk demonstratesÃ‚Â common cause with other addicts.
Jessica M, one of the walk’s organisers, hopes that today’s celebration of recovery will create a new awareness and help end theÃ‚Â shame andÃ‚Â stigma associated with addiction.
Jessica’s optimism is powerfully reinforced by Liz G who says that ‘the recovery walk is important because 5 years ago I was homeless and desperate. I was lucky enough to go to a treatment centre where people came in and spoke about being in recovery and I was given a tiny flicker of hope that I could have a better life as well. People are dying not knowing they have a chance of recovery and this walk can help to show them and the rest of society that alcoholics and addicts do recover.’
How true is this!
Thank you all for participating.
Prof Ross Fitzgerald AM is the author of 36 books, including his memoir,’My Name is Ross: An Alcoholic’s Journey.’