Recovery advocacy on campus and beyond

A member of the University of Michigan Collegiate Recovery Program contributed to the campus paper, highlighting one of her peers in the program.

Last Thursday was a ground-breaking day in our country’s history when an intimate group of young people in long-term recovery from drug and alcohol addiction gathered at our nation’s most sacred building in Washington, D.C., to discuss the great shift that’s happening within our culture: “Recovering out loud. No shame. Only pride.”

One of the members of the panel, which was streamed live, was the University’s own Ariel Britt, a graduate student in the School of Social Work and an intern for the Collegiate Recovery Program, led by program manager Matt Statman.

She goes on to share Ariel’s story and then reflects on her own calling to recovery advocacy.

Recovery from addiction isn’t the modern scarlet letter. It’s a badge of honor, and I keep mine pinned to my chest because we need to illuminate the solution just as frequently as we broadcast the problem. For every story on a heroin overdose, let’s feature a story about a collegiate recovery program that might have saved that person’s life. For every funeral, let’s celebrate a sobriety milestone in honor of someone who wasn’t as fortunate.

The devastation has its important place. We can’t dampen or quash the seriousness of this health crisis, and there’s a reason why one of my tattoos reads in bold, black ink, “Scars are souvenirs you never lose. The past is never far.”

Let’s not forget the stark truth that addiction is a matter of life or death.

But let’s not forget about life. Let’s not forget that there’s hope. Let’s not forget that continuous, uninterrupted sobriety — even in college — is possible when the support is there both tangibly and through social and political empowerment.

Let us never forget that recovery is a reality.