June 21, 2018
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Recovery from addiction is a community endeavor

By Melissa Day, Special to the BDN

There is different sort of Tea Party going on in the capital on May 20 at the Blaine House. A rally not for political revolution, but a salute to a social revolution in which individuality, courage, independence and the community spirit of the New England legacy is celebrated.

We are the daughters of the revolutionaries that helped catapult this nation into existence. We are the living legacy of the ability to not take the view first presented to us; to think and make decisions for ourselves and our community.

We are the women of long-term recovery. We are letting you know in the softest, firmest voice that recovery from addiction can, will and does happen every day. We are resilient in mind, body and spirit. We are proud of our accomplishments and grateful to the community for helping to lessen in size and number the barriers we must overcome to achieve a life of long term recovery.

The Women’s Addiction Services Council, or WASC, is a collaboration of Maine alcohol and other drugs service providers, people in recovery and community members who network to make recovery treatment and support services available to women and their families. For more than 25 years, WASC has been hosting the annual Silver Tea at the Blaine House to celebrate women in recovery and to educate Maine leaders and citizens about the benefits of recovery within the lives of individuals, families and neighborhoods.

The Council also honors the leadership demonstrated by recovering women who work in our communities to improve the lives of others who are struggling with problems related to alcohol and drugs.

This focus on one gender is in recognition of the unique barriers to long-term recovery for women. The term “feminine” is often associated with the life-giving and nurturing qualities of motherhood, intuition, birth and the life cycle. Women should and do hold a place of central importance in the economic, social and family fabric in the state of Maine.

Women suffering from the disease of addiction are in desperate need of the same qualities they are supposed to give others as they face the harsh truth that the problem is not the outside forces of the world, but the disease within. The governor will read a proclamation declaring May 17-23 Women in Recovery week so that we may recognize those women who have rewoven themselves back into the tapestry of society.

The Women in Recovery Leadership Award is a celebration of these outstanding individuals. While we honor and support the women currently in treatment, this presentation is awarded to women with five or more years of recovery whose efforts in their community provide strength and hope to others. We know that many of these leaders work quietly without recognition and we are proud to thank them for their service.

So, the next time you find yourself sipping tea, take a moment to celebrate the moments when the community comes together to solve a common problem. Recovery is a community responsibility. This social revolution, this paradigm shift, is symbolized by letting go of the intolerant single-minded tea-totaling image of yesteryear and embracing abstinence for what it actually is: A life consisting of many flavors, colors, aromas, healing properties and even potency. The teapot is broader and roomier than you had previously imagined.

Symbolically clink your teacups in honor of the women, their allies, our communities and ourselves for the ground-breaking concept of long term recovery as a community responsibility.

Melissa Day is a member of the Women’s Addiction Services Council and chair of the Bangor Area Recovery Community Coalition’s education committee.

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