Sunday, October 25, 2015


October 23, 2015
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Volunteer for The Council/PRO-ACT !!

Central Bucks:     
Email or call Steve at 215-345-6644 x3006

Southern Bucks:  
Email or call Karen at 215-788-3738 x100

Philadelphia, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County:        
Email John or call 215-923-1661 
What is 

Pennsylvania Recovery Organization - Achieving Community Together (PRO-ACT) is a grassroots advocacy and recovery support initiative of The Council covering Southeastern

PRO-ACT works to reduce the stigma of addiction, ensure the availability of adequate treatment and recovery support services, and to influence public opinion and policy regarding the value of recovery.

For more information about PRO-ACT visit ourwebsite.

I hope you enjoy the blog entry below, from William White, released just before the UNITE rally.  I am sending it out to you because it accomplishes that most important of tasks, it places the current issues of the day within the broader historical context. It is my experience and belief that nothing can change without first seeing it clearly, no disease can be treated without an accurate diagnosis.
~Beverly Haberle

by William L. White

A day is coming when we will gather at state capitals and in our nation's capital and you will see recovering people in every direction as far as the eyes can see-all offering themselves as LIVING PROOF that recovery is not just a possibility but a living reality.-October 6, 2001

In October 2001, addiction recovery advocates from around the country assembled in St. Paul, Minnesota to launch a new recovery advocacy movement.  Those of us present had no way of envisioning the remarkable events that could and would unfold in the coming years. This weekend, now fourteen years later, recovery advocates from around the country will again assemble in the Unite to Face Addiction rally in Washington, D.C.  It seemed appropriate on this historic occasion to revisit the vision that drew many of us to St. Paul in 2001. In my closing keynote at the 2001 Recovery Summit, I challenged those present to personally refine and deliver the address below in communities across the country.  Perhaps that day we envisioned in 2001 has arrived.    

St. Paul, 2001:  It is an honor to be able to share some thoughts with you about the recovery advocacy movement in America.  I have had the privilege of working with many of the grassroots organizations that are the backbone and heart of this movement.  Recovering people and their families, friends, and professional allies are once again organizing to change the way this country views addiction and the potential for recovery.  It is indeed an exciting time within communities of recovery in America.

There Was a Day
I want to begin my remarks by talking about our past.  There is much we can learn by sitting at history's feet.  Comedian Lilly Tomlin once observed that, if we listened, maybe history wouldn't have to keep repeating itself.  I have come to recognize the profound wisdom in her words.

There was a day in the late 19th century when an elaborate network of recovery support groups and addiction treatment institutions dotted the American landscape.  There were Native American recovery circles, the Washingtonians, the fraternal temperance societies, and the reform clubs.  There were recovery-oriented inebriate homes, medically-oriented inebriate asylums, for-profit addiction cure institutes, and religiously-oriented inebriate colonies.  In that time, physicians in the American Association for the Cure of Inebriety proclaimed to all the world that addiction was a disease that could be either inherited or acquired and that this disease was one from which people could fully recovery.  On that day, recovery activists, alone and in organized groups, offered themselves as living proof that recovery from addiction was possible. 

That day vanished in the opening years of the twentieth century, drowned in a wave of cultural pessimism that closed addiction treatment institutions and sent recovery groups into hiding.  The demise of America's first era of institutional treatment and recovery support groups is a stark reminder that we can take nothing that exists today for granted.

As America's 19th century institutions and support groups collapsed, a new sunless day emerged.  That day, less than a hundred years ago, witnessed addicted people locked away for years in rural penal colonies.  Americans, believing that alcoholics and addicts were a "bad seed" that threatened the future of the society and the human race, passed laws providing for their mandatory sterilization.  That was a time when people who had yet to achieve recovery filled the "cells" of "foul wards" in large city hospitals, and they were the lucky ones, as most hospitals refused their admission.  That was a day when alcoholics and addicts spent their most despairing hours in city drunk tanks.  That was a day when those not yet in recovery died in the streets and were swept up like discarded refuse.  That was a day when alcoholics and addicts languished in the snake pits of aging state psychiatric hospitals.  That was a day when alcoholics and addicts were subjected to brain surgery and shock therapies and every manner of drug insult-all thrust upon them in the name of help.  That was a day when family members died a thousand emotional deaths in their desperate, unrelenting search for help for an addicted spouse, parent, sibling, or child.  Those days of professional condescension and public contempt were not so long ago.  

The remnants of those dark days were present in the earliest years of my own entrance into the worlds of addiction treatment and recovery.  In the 1960s, I witnessed alcoholics and addicts languishing in the most cold and callous of institutions.  I have no words to convey the feel or smell of such places, places that conveyed in a thousand ways that you were not human, places that sucked the hope out of all condemned to live in them.  I have vivid recollections of local community hospitals refusing to admit alcoholics and addicts for treatment of acute trauma: such people were perceived as not morally worthy to fill beds reserved for those who were "really sick."  Working as an outreach and crisis worker, I have nightmarish recollections of the bodies of the addicted hanging from torn sheets in jail cells, and my own desperate attempts to find the words to communicate with families who had long feared a visit such as mine. 

The invasive treatments-the shock therapies, the drug insults, the prolonged sequestration-are not ancient tales.  I recently interviewed a woman who was hospitalized for acute alcohol poisoning in 1971.  She and her family were given two treatment choices: a one-year commitment in a state psychiatric hospital or brain surgery-a lobotomy-that they were told would remove her craving for alcohol.  The woman herself thought the surgery a better alternative than being locked up for a year.  But a chance encounter between her father and a man in recovery brought a woman from Alcoholics Anonymous to her bedside and the beginning of what has now been more than three decades of sanity, sobriety and service.  Her story tells us that we are little more than a generation away from these infamous days.  Her story also hints at what happened to open the doors of recovery. 

In White, W. (2006).  Let's Go Make Some History:  Chronicles of the New Addiction Recovery Advocacy Movement.  Washington, D.C. 
Representative Todd Stephens, Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman, and Danielle Curry.

Kid's Fest 2015

On Saturday, October 10th, State Representative Todd Stephens from the 151st District, held the 3rd Annual Kid's Fest celebration, at the Village Shopping Center on Blair Mill Rd in Horsham, PA.  Hundreds gathered to see the local fire and police departments, as well as vendors and organizations from around Montgomery County. 

The Council was represented by Danielle Curry, a CRS serving both Montgomery and Bucks Counties. The Council's table was directly next to the Montgomery County District Attorney, Risa Vetri Ferman, and Police Department.  Kids of all ages walked around the shopping center's parking lot, got their faces painted, collected free toys, including bike helmets from the police department and firefighter hats from the fire department. The police department brought along their K-9 unit, as well as a large Septa Bus. The officers and their 4-legged friends showed the crowd how they train the dogs, and how the dogs are taught to track bombs and drugs. The fire department showed children and their parents how they respond to an emergency, and even how they use their large cranes to rescue people from tall buildings in the event of a fire.  The event was a huge success, and hundreds of kids had a fun-filled Fall Saturday with their parents!
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