It’s a known truth that all great change begins at the local level. As such, Friends of Recovery – New York conducts and attends multiple addiction-recovery-focused events and forums in communities throughout the state each month. These events are integral to building recovery services and supports throughout the state.
We know the importance of citizens and policymakers hearing the stories of addiction and recovery occurring in their own backyards and opening their eyes to the real impact that addiction has on their own families, friends, neighbors, schools and communities. Once they see the impact, they’re more likely to be concerned and ultimately, inspired to advocate for local supports and services.
Furthermore, because the needs of one community don’t necessarily match the needs of another, local events help to identify which specific supports are most needed in each community. As you might imagine, the needs of urban, rural and suburban areas can vary greatly, as can the needs of upstate vs downstate communities.
Recovery needs vary across generations as well. Addiction impacts adolescents, twenty-somethings, middle-agers and senior citizens, either personally or as a family member or friend. Recovery services and supports must be tailored to meet the specific needs of each group.
FOR-NY is working to identify those needs through a variety of community-based events including the Recovery Talks: Community Listening Forums and Family and Youth Forums. The purpose of these programs is to learn about a host of addiction-recovery-related issues from those directly impacted by addiction. Topics have included accessing information, services and supports in order to identify the specific challenges individuals and families are facing and examining the need for systems to change.
These events are always well-attended. The impact that addiction and recovery have had on individuals and families in the communities we’ve visited to date is evidenced by the courageous, often emotional, and honest personal stories shared.