ARAD 2020 - A Powerful Day for Recovery In Georgia #GARecovers
By Jeff Breedlove
Thank you to everyone who made ARAD 2020 a tremendous success. Record shattering attendance soaring well past 1,000, a record number of sponsors, amazing media coverage, dozens of elected officials, and many positive new friendships and connections. Recovery is Real.
Governor Brian Kemp kicked off the celebrations with strong words of support for the Georgia Recovers campaign, Recovery Community Organizations, and presented a proclamation declaring January 28 as Addiction Recovery Awareness Day in Georgia.
Concurrently, both the state Senate and state House of Representatives passed Addiction Recovery Awareness Day resolutions in their respective chambers.
Attorney General Chris Carr, DBHDD Commissioner Judy Fitzgerald, State Board of Education Member Scott Johnson, and over 15 Members of the General Assembly addressed ARAD 2020.
Two special highlights of ARAD were the mini Georgia Recovers billboards placed on the desk of each Member of the General Assembly. These were made possible by a generous in kind donation from our friends at Out Front media. The other special highlight was the premiere of the new Georgia Recovers video. A powerful message made possible by a generous in kind gift from our friends at Q Optix.
Neil Campbell and Kelly Moselle anchored the morning festivities. They were joined by representatives from three of our amazing RCO’s and two peers sharing their personal and powerful stories of Recovery.
R2ISE and Michele Ward gave two wonderful artistic performances highlighting the power of the arts and Recovery and Neil Campbell presented her Recovery Language Advocacy training to prepare us for meeting with our state leaders.
In the afternoon a large crowd gathered inside the state Capitol for three important events.
The Rally 4 Recovery featured over 15 Members of the Georgia General Assembly, three RCO leaders and a Georgia Recovers presentation. Two important Recovery legislative efforts were presented. Senator Kay Kirkpatrick spoke about SB 311 which addresses abuses in sober housing including patient brokering and drug testing and Representative Erick Allen unveiled the design for the Georgia Recovers license plate.
The General Assembly Working Group on Addiction and Recovery held their inaugural meeting immediately following the Rally 4 Recovery. A bi-partisan group of legislators heard presentations from Neil Campbell on Recovery Advocacy, Laurisa Guerrero presented on the NICU / ER Peer Coach program, and Chanda Santana of DIVAS Who Win presented on the RCO program.
Throughout the afternoon Recovery peers and allies fanned out across the Capitol to meet with their local elected officials and advocate for the Georgia Recovery Community. The dozens of photographs across social media serve as a testament to the success of this effort and the power of the Recovery voice.
A united Georgia Recovery Community made ARAD 2020 a historic success, we generated earned media, created a powerful presence in the Capitol, sent a powerful message that the most important voice in the process is the peer voice, and that Recovery is Real.
We are already at work on ARAD 2021 and look forward to an even bigger and better event.