Join the Addiction Recovery Movement

Join the Addiction Recovery Movement

Change happens. Sometimes it’s rapid. Sometimes it’s so slow you wonder if it’s ever going to really change. One such “is it ever going to really change” movements is the Women’s Rights Movement.

The Women's Rights Movement provides an historical model of what can happen - seemingly against all odds - when each of us individually does what we can to take a stand to affect change. Today I stand with the Addiction Recovery Movement!

The Women’s Rights Movement provides an historical model of what can happen – seemingly against all odds – when each of us individually does what we can to take a stand to affect change. Today I do what I can to support the Addiction Recovery Movement!

In my “before,” I studied the Women’s Rights Movement and wrote two biographies, one on Elizabeth Cady Stanton and one on Susan B. Anthony, and spent a number of years giving lectures nationally on this Movement (1848 to 2008). So you can imagine how excited I was to see their statute on display in the Capitol’s Rotunda, Friday. It’s because of women like Stanton, Lucretia Mott (the third bust on this statute) and Anthony, and the hundreds of thousands and eventually millions more [and let’s not forget the men who joined them – think about it – only men could vote when the 19th Amendment was ratified] over this 160+ year period who worked so hard – joining marches, writing letters, giving lectures, pushing the societal stereotypes, working on voting rights campaigns, holding rallies, lobbying legislators and so, so much more – that my daughter is able to graduate from law school today and my other daughter was able to graduate as a marine biologist. This movement (like others, of course) is a powerful reminder that it takes thousands – hundreds of thousands and eventually millions – the majority of whom will never be “known” – doing whatever they can and are comfortable doing to affect real change.

So I ask you to…

Join the Addiction Recovery Movement

Just as with the Women’s Rights Movement, there have been hundreds of sung and unsung heroes who started and followed and supported and worked in the long history of the addiction recovery movement. [To learn about this history, I recommend William L. White‘s book, Slaying the Dragon: The History of Addition Treatment and Recovery in America.] And just like the women’s rights movement, there are hundreds of thousands and now millions more who are doing whatever they can to carry the torch.

And WE can do this!

Just as a person with the brain disease of addiction or a substance use disorder negatively touches the lives of 5 more people (family members and close friends, for example), so too can WE – the people in support of the Addiction Recovery Movement – positively touch the lives of 5 or more people for the good. And through our efforts, our WE grows.

And that’s the beauty of joining a movement. You can do a lot or a little; you can be vocal or behind the scenes; you can touch one or you can touch hundreds; you can do something once or on a daily basis; but whatever you chose or are comfortable doing, your “something” adds to the WE, and it’s the WE that will eventually shatter the stigma, misinformation and shame that have shrouded all-things addiction for far too long.

Here are a few suggestions you might try to help grow the WE in the Addiction Recovery Movement:

Talk Matter-of-Factly and Openly About the Facts of the Brain Disease of Addiction

Thanks to the relatively recent brain and addiction-related research, we now understand how and why it is a brain disease, why relapse can be common for some and what effective addiction treatment looks like. As you become familiar with this research (or perhaps you already know it), talking about addiction as the brain disease it is (the same way we talk about other organ diseases) can go a long ways to shattering some of the stigma and shame that keeps us so stuck. Here are a few posts that may help:

7 Sound Bites to Update 2014 Conversations Around Addiction

Shatter the Shame of Addiction

5 Reasons People Relapse After Years of Sobriety

Why to Addicts | Alcoholics Lie, Cheat and Steal

Want to Prevent | Treat Addiction? Assess Your Risk Factors

Do Something, Anything

Just as with the fact there is no one, nor right way to “do” addiction recovery, so too is their no one, nor right way to “do” addiction recovery advocacy. We can vote for candidates who understand and support recovery, we can join walks and rallies for recovery, we can take actions in our workplaces, schools and communities, we can celebrate National  Prevention Week,  Alcohol Awareness Month, Recovery Month, Children of Alcoholic’s Week… or any of the other movements and causes behind the key risk factors or outcomes, Mental Health Month, Suicide Prevention Month, Domestic Violence Awareness Month….

Faces & Voices of Recovery founded in 2001 has been a leader in the Addiction Recovery Movement.

Faces & Voices of Recovery founded in 2001 is a leader in the Addiction Recovery Movement.

For an umbrella resource for the Addiction Recovery Movement, check out Faces & Voices of Recovery, founded in 2001.

And check out ManyFaces1Voice & The Anonymous People Film for some amazing inspiration. Here’s the trailer to introduce you to the film if you’ve not already seen it.


Support the Family Members in Sharing Their Stories and in Their Secondhand Drinking | Secondhand Drugging Recoveries

We’ve long talked about the family members and close friends of those struggling with the disease as codependents and enablers. Consider changing the term to Secondhand Drinking or Secondhand Drugging – either way, however, the impacts on the family are the same, and they have their own stories and experiences to share and tell. For more on these impacts, check out Fight-or-Flight Stress Response System and the Secondhand Drinking (Drugging) Connection.

Consider Following or Getting Involved with the Work of Others Who’ve Long Been Active in the Recovery Movement

Here are a few of my close friends and colleagues also working in this area – check out their websites and blogs – so much wisdom and expertise shared…

  • Kevin Kirby, Co-founder of Face It TOGETHER, a team of social entrepreneurs who reject the status quo and bring a revolutionary, meaningful, and sustainable solution to our nation’s top public health crisis, addiction.
  • Cathy Taughinbaugh, Parent Recovery Coach and author of the blog, TreatmentTalk at
  • Dr. Herby Bell, Recovery and Wellness Coach, blogger and host of Sober Conversations at
  • Kyczy Hawk, Author of Yoga and the 12 Step Path and yoga instructor at
  • Tim Cheney and Adrian Hooper, long-time Recovery Advocates and Co-Founders of Chooper’, a comprehensive addiction treatment and recovery resource directory.
  • Jody Lamb, Author of Easter Ann Peters’ Operation Cool (a book for young adults living in families with alcohol misuse) and blogger at
  • Beth Wilson, in long-term recovery and sharing her courage, strength and hope through her website and blog,
  • Bill White, MS, LLPC, blogger, Coach and Mentor specializing in Depression, Anxiety or Mania at
  • Leslie Ferris, Certified Professional Coach working with parents of struggling tweens, teens & young adults at Phase 2 For You

Take a Break, Take a Rest but Please Don’t Quit – We’ve a Lot of Work To Do…

Boy, I’ve had my days to be sure, but then I think of Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott and the millions of women and men who did their part, however big or small and in whatever capacity they were comfortable taking action, to completely change the lives of women.

And like the Women’s Rights Movement (and other courageous movements), it will take time, but all of us working together will completely change the face of addiction and the lives of those who have this brain disease and those who love, live and cope with persons who do.

We’ve a lot of work to do…millions of lives and the quality of life for tens of millions more depend on us, the WE.

© 2014 Lisa Frederiksen




Lisa Frederiksen

Lisa Frederiksen

Author | Speaker | Consultant | Founder at
Lisa is the author of hundreds of articles and 11 books, including "If You Loved Me, You'd Stop!," "Addiction Recovery: What Helps, What Doesn't," and "Secondhand Drinking: the Phenomenon That Affects Millions." She is a national keynote speaker with over 25 years speaking experience, consultant, and founder of She has spent more than 14 years studying 21st century brain research in order to write, speak, and consult on substance use disorders prevention, intervention and treatment; mental disorders; addiction (aka substance use disorders) as a brain disease; adolescent addiction treatment vs adult addiction treatment; effective treatment for co-occurring disorders (having both a substance use and mental disorder); secondhand drinking | drugging; help for the family; and related subjects. In 2015, she founded SHD Prevention, providing training and consulting to companies, public agencies, unions, nonprofits and other entities to address the workplace impacts of employee secondhand drinking and alcohol misuse.

13 Responses to Join the Addiction Recovery Movement

  1. Hi Lisa, thanks for a terrific article! It’s so true that those of us who are in recovery from addiction need to stand strong and proud, in order to change the stigma that is still, unfortunately, alive around addiction as a whole. I’ve been in recovery for many years, one day at a time, and I now always relish the opportunity to talk about my experience, strength and hope. We CAN recover, especially when we lovingly and compassionately support one another.

    • Thank you, Candace! I’m with you – I welcome opportunities to talk about my secondhand drinking recovery. And, I agree – we need to “lovingly and compassionately support one another” because we never know another person’s journey into this family disease, so we can’t judge their journey out – whatever it takes, right!?!

  2. Beth Wilson says:


    What an exciting week you’ve had! Anything in DC gives me chills (good ones!) and seeing that particular statue knowing the work you’ve done in the field must have been one amazing experience. And your daughters . . . wow! You must be over the moon!

    You know one of the things I so appreciate about you? It’s your positive nature. You never–not back then with the women’s rights movement and not now with the recovery advocacy movement–say, “Nah . . . I don’t think that will work. I think I’ll let someone else try.”

    Never. And that sure gives me strength to fight the good fight.

    Thank you for everything you do. And thank you for including me in such an illustrious group of champions!

    • Thank you so much, Beth – I really appreciate your kind words and have very much enjoyed getting to know you and your work – amazing things you’re doing!! It has been a very exciting week, and I’m with you – anything in DC gives me chills – so much to remind us of just how far we’ve come as a country and a people and that no matter how yuck it gets, we do have the mechanisms in place to change things.

  3. I love your purpose and passion in this post Lisa. Thanks to yourself and other experts like you there is ground-breaking advances in the information and treatment of addiction. And that means hope and positive recovery for everyone impacted by substance abuse and dependency. Thank you!

    • And thank YOU, Carolyn. In fact – you were the first Face of Recovery on! I love your posts – always so filled with wisdom and hope but no rancor or bitterness for what you overcame as a child abandoned by her mother and abused by her father. Readers – I encourage you to follow Carolyn’s Blog, The Hurt Healer – they are amazing!

  4. Herby Bell says:


    I’m with Carolyn, Lisa–your clarity and passion here are wonderfully inspiring.

    Linking Recovery Advocacy with the Women’s Rights Movement is such a helpful insight. Growing up and being a white, Anglo-Saxon male in this country, I hold enormous gratitude for addiction recovery as my wakeup call to more deeply empathize with the WE. Here WE are on the precipice of the very good possibility that we’ll have a woman POTUS in 2016 and it’s about time…

    Something tells me you had a former life, living in another era, that was instrumental in bringing these current realities, including your daughter’s admirable accomplishments–to fruition. All I know for sure is that you are a tireless thought and action Leader par excellence in our collective WE effort to move and shift the Recovery Movement in the right direction.

    Thank you for this spectacular, big picture post and compassionate call-to-action, Lisa.

  5. First Lisa, congrats to both of your daughters – absolutely fantastic. And they have benefited from having such a wonderful Mom as you! You have a wonderful way of being able to back up and put recovery in historical perspective, as we all are now able to do with the Women’s Rights Movement. What a wonderful analogy. Your call to join it somehow someway be it large or small is very compelling, and it makes a lot of sense. These movements take time and momentum from a lot of different directions! And thank you, I am honored to be listed among your group of fine colleagues! Another good one Lisa, rock on!

  6. Love your comparison to the Women’s Movement, Lisa, and how cool to see their statutes! It is amazing to see how far that movement has come. While addiction and recovery still have a ways to go, we have made progress and it feels like we are hopefully on the verge of making some bigger strides. I do hope so. I so appreciate the mention. Your suggestions are great. We all do need to get involved as addiction affects everyone. Thanks for a great post!

    • Thank you, Cathy – and thank YOU for all you are doing in this area with your work as a Parent Recovery Coach, with The Partnership at and with the CRAFT program. As you say, it does feel as if the movement is on the verge of making bigger strides!

  7. Greatly appreciate your historical perspective and analogy to the Women’s Rights Movement, Lisa. For all of us who are addiction survivors, our experience has involved many forms of discrimination. Be it employment discrimination and denial of needed care, to name a couple. Society has marginalized addiction sufferers and survivors alike. The stigmas and barriers (physical and psychological) have undoubtedly made addiction a civil rights issue. So, I wholeheartedly agree with you that we need millions more joining the Addiction Recovery Movement.

    However, I think you overlooked a crucial aspect of the movement that most who are steeped in the movement also overlook — the role of health care. I really loved your point that those of us who are addiction survivors should “talk matter-of-factly and openly about the facts of the brain disease of addiction.” Absolutely! Addiction manifests like many other chronic diseases, but very few are willing to boldly make those connections for fear that when we do, we will be rebuked. Very few are willing to boldly make those connections because most who survive the current addiction treatment experience do not get well via a health care process, but largely through a 12-step process.

    As you acknowledge in your other writings, more and more people will find their way to help due to the changing nature of “treatment” in the U.S. because of significant changes in policy (ACA, Parity, etc.). These major policy changes are happening at a time when health care systems are fully integrating mental and behavioral health with primary care (we are watching this occur in our South Dakota backyard). In the next two years, health care will be the entrance point for care for the majority of sufferers — yet, no one, and certainly very few of the colleagues you list above (albeit, think you for adding Kevin Kirby of Face It TOGETHER) are talking about the role of health care in treating addiction. Getting addiction care mainstreamed into health care has too many complexities to discuss presently, suffice it to say, getting the movement to talk using disease/health care oriented language will force doctors to take notice.

    I am an ardent advocate. I walk right up to the line of zealotry at times. We need a movement full of advocates talking about addiction as a brain disease, about the treatment process (we’ll leave the horrendous and immoral lack of success of addiction treatment as we know it today for another time), and about what life is like in recovery and wellness. We desperately need the latter to change hearts and minds. But we also need the voices of those that are trying to change the system of care so that more people can have better, healthier lives.

    Thank you for your thoughtful blog and work.

    • Hi David,
      You raise a critical oversight – my failure to mention the role of health care in treating addiction – thank you! For I very much agree with you and what your organization, Face It TOGETHER, is doing about this. After you contacted me, I went to your website, Face it TOGETHER,, and was thrilled to learn more about what you are doing to “fully integrate mental and behavioral health with primary care,” which made it very easy to include Kevin Kirby and Face It TOGETHER to this list. [And to all readers, please know there are many more who should also be included here for one reason or another.] But to your work, I thought it may help readers understand what Face It TOGETHER is about, so I’ve copied some of your site information and encourage readers to visit it to learn more and get involved:
      Transform Communities
      We give communities the tools to solve addiction. We enlist employers and other key stakeholders, facilitating system change to eliminate barriers that keep people from getting well and staying well.

      Mainstream Addiction Care Into Health Care
      Health care is ill-equipped to heal people with addiction. This has to change as health care transitions into a world of value-based reimbursement. Through our community-based addiction management programs, we collaborate with health care organizations to deliver comprehensive addiction care, getting more people well and reducing costs.

      Population Health Management
      We use the power of data to deliver higher quality addiction care, improved outcomes and lower costs. Our groundbreaking population health management tools help us and our partners track, analyze and ensure better health for those suffering from addiction.

      Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and work in this very critical area.

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