I would like to take this opportunity to thank RISE TOGETHER for this amazing recognition on behalf of Wisconsin Voices for Recovery. Wisconsin Voices for Recovery is a statewide peer run movement that brings together people in and seeking recovery, their family members, professionals, and allies to build the capacity of community-based recovery support services. We believe that solutions to today’s most pressing issues are grounded in community.
The recovery community is working diligently to ensure a better tomorrow for our loved ones because we do not want to see one more person die from the disease of addiction and we will do all we can to improve the landscape of recovery support services in Wisconsin. So naturally, we would seek out community members, such as RISE TOGETHER, to join forces with us. Rise Together members, Anthony Alvarado and Jesse Heffernan have been advisory members for our organization for the past three years. Anthony recently stepped down and Nadine took his place. We are so blessed to have their expertise and dedication on our leadership team. The value and perspective they bring to Wisconsin Voices is truly a gift that we are externally grateful for.
On a personal note, I am extremely honored to have been given the chance to accept this award. I met Rise Together five years ago, when they first began speaking around Wisconsin. I believe that our higher power places individuals into our lives for a reason. We all have defining moments in our lives where we can acknowledge that our life was forever changed. I had my moment five years ago, in Fond du Lac, at a college presentation, when I met them. That day I was lost, defeated from my brothers overdose on heroin earlier in the day, sad from the countless lives of my patients that had been lost to addiction already that year and angry for feeling as if recovery no longer held meaning nor existed.
I wanted to quit my job as a substance abuse therapist and I was at a point where I wanted to give up. And then I met them... These amazing individuals who breathed life back into my soul and reminded me that long term sobriety is possible. That moment changed my life forever, they saved me from myself with their powerful stories reminding me that I too have meaning, and purpose and that hope is restore-able. That moment turned into hours which turned into months and then years. It's been an amazing five years. We have had a blast creating so many wonderful memories together and empowering today's youth to speak up and share their stories of resilience, advocating for change and giving back to our communities. It has been an honor to work with RISE TOGETHER both professionally and personally.