Hands Accross the Bridge a Huge Success

MRN Rally in St LouisThis year’s theme for Recovery Month was “Join the Voices for Recovery: Real People, Real Recovery”. That theme was declared loud and strong as an estimated 1,300 people showed up to support the Hands Across the Bridge event held on Saturday, September 20, 2009 at the Chain of Rocks Bridge in St. Louis.

The day was spent celebrating recovery and encouraging those still struggling to triumph over their addiction. The enthusiastic spirit was amazing. Representatives from both Faces and Voices of Recovery and SAMHSA attended the St. Louis event. Pat Taylor, Executive Director of FAVOR, received phone calls throughout the day reporting from other states on their recovery events.

More than 40,000 people were rallying for recovery around the country on the same day. The attendance this year more than doubled last year’s. Several speakers shared their story about the journey that led them to recovery. The combined message was that there are many paths to recovery. Find one that works for you.

Senator Rita Heard-Days gave an empowering speech praising our advocacy efforts and stressing the importance of helping shape public policy by being involved in the process. An advocacy tent was set up to register new voters, as part of the Recovery Voices Count campaign. Individuals were also encouraged to sign a pledge to vote on Election Day and endorse the new Recovery Bill of Rights. MRN provided the responses of the returned candidate pledges and also reported on the candidates who had not responded to the pledge. This information can be viewed on this website’s home page.

Hands Accross the Bridge EventWe were honored to be joined by Academy Award Winner Lou Gossett Jr., a person in long term recovery. He ranks as one of the most respected and beloved actors of stage, screen, and television.

He shared his story that the disease of addiction not only affected him, but his family and those he loved. Recovery gave him a new life; a new outlook. His words were engaging and empowering as he shared his message of hope.

Lou Gossett Jr. was interviewed on Channel 5-KSDK (NBC) the night prior to the event and Channel 2-KTVI (FOX) that evening as part of their coverage of the event. The message focused on the solution and promise of long term recovery.

The event concluded with everyone holding hands and stretching across the full span of the bridge from Missouri to Illinois. Fireworks went off in joyous celebration of the reality of recovery. For those who attended and showed support, thank you. For those who were unable to make it, we hope you will continue to help broaden social understanding that addiction is a public health crisis and needs attention and recovery support services are critical in helping individuals obtain and sustain recovery.

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