Drug and alcohol addiction was momentarily defeated Saturday morning and early afternoon as hundreds of people flocked to the 2012 Kentucky Rally for Recovery held at the Louisville Waterfront Park. “This is what recovery looks like,” declared Mike Barry, CEO of People Advocating Recovery (PAR).
A nationwide effort held annually, the Rally for Recovery seeks to celebrate not only those who have recovered from their addictions but also those still looking for hope during their fight. Sponsored by PAR, a Louisville-based organization that seeks to facilitate the recovery process, the 2012 Kentucky Rally for Recovery was a huge success, attracting hundreds of participants.
This year’s rally featured a wide range of festivities, including live music, free food, and an information mall, which featured voter registration and booths from organizations like the Healing Place and Volunteer America.
Addiction treatment was the primary focus at this year's rally. “Treatment and recovery are linked hand in hand," said Diane Hague, vice president of the Jefferson Alcohol and Drug Abuse Center (JADAC). ”The reason addiction treatment works is because there is a strong recovery model.” Charlotte Wethington, proponent of Casey’s Law and president of PAR, also emphasized the importance of treatment, declaring that “the only way you can recover is if you are still alive.”
According to a survey  conducted by The Partnership at Drugfree.org and The New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), there are currently 23.5 million Americans in long-term recovery. For many at the rally, this was a familiar reality. To recognize and encourage Kentuckians in their recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, Mike Townsend, program coordinator for Recovery Kentucky, presented a proclamation on behalf of Gov. Beshear that officially declared September as 'Recovery Month’ in the state of Kentucky. “Recovery is possible through a variety of treatments and recovery resources and support programs,” read Townsend. “Thousands of Americans are now living happy, productive lives thanks to recovery.”
At Saturday's rally, there were hundreds of Kentuckians who had plenty to celebrate. As rally participants danced, laughed, and fellowshipped throughout the afternoon, they each stood tall in the face of their demons. And almost poetically, they each painted a promising picture of what addiction recovery looks like.
Photo: Kristen Hamilton