Recovery Day is an annual event, first held on September 30, 2012, which demonstrates and celebrates the ability of those with drug, alcohol and behavioral addictions to achieve long-term sobriety and live productive and healthy lives and also to eradicate the stigma around addiction, whether it be to illicit drugs, pills, alcohol, eating or gambling. Recovery Day brings together treatment centre’s professionals, counsellors and community groups.
Celebrating addiction recovery publicly is a big first step in getting rid of the stigma. There are a multitude of people in recovery who will not come to Recovery Day because they are afraid of somebody seeing them there, of being judged and don’t want to be seen as recovering from addiction. That’s the stigma.
The stigma attached to addiction keeps many people faced with the challenge of addiction from seeking help! The Canadian Centre for Addictions (CCFA) wants to assist with the solutions of changing the stereo type and perception of people suffering with addiction. The way to address addiction is to talk about it and educate. Being able to say you are in recovery should be a positive thing! Whether we like it or not, there is still discrimination about addiction. We are advocating for recovery works, because it really works!
The CCFA set up a stall handing out caps, t-shirts and other goodies as well as have conversation with people attending the event and listening to their stories, being grateful and sharing in their success. By telling over one’s story about their addiction is part of the recovery process.
Recovery Day Toronto was held last month on Sunday 20 September, 2015 at Mel Lastman Square. The event was also held in multiple other locations around Canada.
Recovery Day in Toronto, Canada
‘Annie McCullough and Lorinda Strang of the Orchard Recovery Center on Bowen Island developed the concept of Recovery Day based on similar recovery advocacy movements in the United States. In the US, September is officially recognized by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (a division of the United States Department of Health and Human Services) as “Recovery Month.” In order to build a strong team to lead their initiative, Annie and Lorinda joined with David Berner and Chuck Doucette of the Drug Prevention Network of Canada as well as Giuseppe Ganci of the Last Door and they began planning a Canadian equivalent based on the same principle of celebrating recovery from addictions’
Sunday’s event featured a proclamation by Toronto Mayor John Tory, talks from medical experts, personal stories of recovery, and music.
September 30, 2012 was declared Recovery Day through an official proclamation from Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. The idea of Recovery Day spread to other major Canadian cities such as Victoria where a similar event was also held in Centennial Square. Ottawa’s mayor signed a similar proclamation. The following year, 12 cities hosted events. In 2014, 20 cities held Recovery Day events. Close to 30 cities held events in 2015.
Below is Toronto Mayor John Tory’s proclamation:
September 20, 2015
WHEREAS addiction continues to be a terrible and costly burden and one that affects many Toronto residents and their families.
By embracing a life of sobriety, many courageous citizens who once had addictions, can now move on with their lives. After having acknowledged their dependency, they have been able to regain their dignity and self-respect.
These individuals have discovered that honesty, sobriety and a full return to citizenship are all factors that go hand in hand with each other. They are able to feel happy and richly fulfilled because they are in recovery and beginning the next positive stage of their lives.
Recovery Day is a day set aside to celebrate each person’s individual recovery and the recovery of their fellow citizens.
On September 20, 2015, the third annual Recovery Day will be held at Mel Lastman Square. It will feature music, speakers, activities for children and a sobriety count.
NOW THEREFORE I, Mayor John Tory, on behalf of Toronto City Council, do hereby proclaim September 20, 2015 as “Recovery Day” in the City of Toronto.— Canadian Centre for Addictions