Bucciferro: Recovery Can Be An Every Day and Every Month Effort

NYAPRS Note: Here’s heartwarming article from long time rehabilitation pioneer and recovery supporter David Bucciferro. David will be a presenter at NYAPRS’ first ever Rehabilitation and Recovery Academy, “Recovery and Rehabilitation: Realizing the Vision, Achieving the Value”, to be held primarily for NYS PROS and HCBS providers this November 17-18 at the Radisson Hotel in Albany. See links to program brochure and registration at the bottom left of our homepage at www.nyaprs.org.
Also you can view a NYAPRS Conference attendee sharing their story via a video that was filmed by Foothold Technology at last month’s conference at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tigSG_vGJeo&feature=youtu.be.

Recovery Can Be An Every Day and Every Month Effort
by David Bucciferro, Senior Advisor, Foothold Technology September 30, 2016

For me, the most important awareness efforts, National Recovery Month, occurs each September and has been part of the behavioral health landscape for over 25 years.According to SAMHSA, over 23 million people in America are in recovery from addiction and over 38% of adults have a loved one who is in recovery from addiction. Millions more are recovering in one way or another.

For many years I have felt like a member of the recovery movement. My voice is not that of a single personal experience, but from the perspective of a friend, a colleague, and most proudly as a parent. I am one of the lucky people who has been blessed with the opportunity to live my life in settings where, in some small way, I have helped people with their journeys of recovery. This was true when I worked at the New York State Office of Mental Health, in my current capacity at Foothold Technology, and in my own home.

I say I am blessed because there is nothing better than seeing a person fight back against the disabling effects of one’s illness and watching him or her stand tall in the community, side by side with everyone else. The struggles, the biases, the stigma, and the pain a person endures to reach that pinnacle called recovery is one of the greatest things anyone can witness. In my own life I have been honored to watch so many fight hard to become a part of the community so many of us take for granted. For some individuals in recovery, the very common practice of going to a store for groceries, or going out to dinner or calling a friend to watch a game often feels far from possible.

As a parent I have watched my son grow from a child who basically had no friends for the first 20 plus years of his life, become a full time productive employee, who owns his own car, makes enough money to soon move out on his own and now even has friends he calls and texts, friends with whom he shares common experiences and activities. As a parent, I know I am lucky and know that not all recovery stories are like my son’s, but he is one of so many who has successfully recovered. Occasional struggles continue, many of which face a 24 year old young man who has not experienced all the same things as others his age, but he has not let it slow his path of recovery.

In my role at Foothold Technology, I’m proud to engage with so many people providing support on the frontlines of recovery. Whether it’s through conversation with case managers at one of the agencies using AWARDS, or with peers supported by agencies likeNYAPRS, which held itsannual gathering a few weeks ago, I find continued inspiration from those working so hard to fight stigma, provide safe places for active listening and support. I venture to say that each and every one of us knows someone who is in recovery. It could be recovery from substance use, mental illness, from a harmful compulsive disorder, trauma or even from grief.

There are great resources available to help each of us learn how to support someone in recovery. I especially likewww.recoverymonth.gov, sponsored by SAMHSA and the National Recovery Month Toolkit on the National Council for Behavioral Health website. Thetoolkitincludes tips on how to support someone in recovery from addiction as well as tips for talking with a loved one about substance use.

Although September is recognized as National Recovery Month, and was a wonderful time to honor those in recovery, I encourage everyone to acknowledge that recovery is an every month, every day, every hour, every minute effort for those in recovery and ask that we support and celebrate those in recovery every day of the year.