Celebrate National Recovery Month at Liberty State Park

The disease of addiction has negatively affected the lives of so many Americans. Hundreds of thousands of people have died from overdoses in just the past few years alone, while millions of others still struggle with a substance use disorder that takes a physical mental and emotional toll on themselves as well as their loved ones.

Because addiction is such a difficult disease to battle and ultimately overcome, it is important to take time to reflect on the successes of those who are in recovery from addiction, especially during National Recovery Month, which PDFNJ discussed with News 12 New Jersey earlier in September. There will be several recovery events in the state throughout the month, including the Morris County Recovery Walk organized by Freedom House on September 22.

This week, I turn over the blog to Lisa Gladwell, Chair of New Jersey Recovery Advocates, which will be holding its New Jersey Recovery Walk/Rally at Liberty State Park. The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey has participated in this wonderful event during past years, and I encourage New Jersey residents to attend a recovery walk near you and to appreciate that recovery from addiction is possible.


By Lisa Gladwell & Jolene Matthews 

September is National Recovery Month, and New Jersey is certainly not missing out on the celebrations. This year marks the fifth year of the New Jersey Recovery Walk/Rally being held Saturday, September 15 at Liberty State Park in honor of those who are in recovery from addiction and those who still struggle along with their families and the community. This year’s theme is “Brand New Endings!” 

It is no secret that addiction is now an epidemic and a national emergency, as declared by the White House. The opioid crisis, especially, has infiltrated many homes, our youth and those with chronic pain. We dare to say that no family today is excluded from the disease of addiction and it is time to fight back! Five years ago it was estimated that 1 in 10 people suffer. In 2018, that number only continues to increase with data showing that more than 3,000 people will most likely die from an overdose in 2018 in New Jersey alone.

While the general public might appear to hide its head in the sand out of ignorance, confusion and fear of judgment, those in the recovery community know too well that the shame and stigma of being labeled a “loser,” “weak-willed” or “a screw-up” (to name a few) only keeps many individuals silenced from asking for help: lost in the shadows of shame, fearful of stepping forward in the public eye of family, friends and co-workers addressing the issue.

That is why National Recovery Month is such an important occasion to view the community as it should be – warriors who are willing to fight an overwhelming disease of the body, mind and spirit and people who deserve the accolades of making profound changes in their life and the lives of others. We know secrets keep us sick and New Jersey Recovery Advocates is an organization that fights relentlessly and tirelessly against the negative labels that society puts on us while educating people on the scope of the disease for both prevention and recovery.

New Jersey Recovery Advocates, is a New Jersey grassroots organization with a mission to offer real solutions to the plague of addiction currently destroying our children, families, loved ones, permeating neighborhoods and infecting every community. We are committed to:

  • Educating the public on substance use disorders
  • Providing hope and inspiration to those struggling with the disease of addiction
  • Demonstrating and celebrating the reality of recovery from substance use disorders in our community
  • Eliminating the isolation, shame, stigma and discrimination associated with mental health and substance use disorders
  • Empowering individuals and families to seek freedom from the bonds of addiction
  • Increasing the dialog and collaboration in the substance use continuum including, but not limited to, the areas of prevention, treatment and recovery
  • Removing barriers from those who seek healthy and productive lives in recovery.

We hope you can join us at Saturday’s event to celebrate recovery. The walk will begin at 11 a.m., the rally will start at 1 p.m. With the Statue of Liberty, our most famous symbol of freedom, standing watch, this FREE event is the perfect opportunity to bring New Jersey together; educate, support and celebrate recovery; and, together, take back our state from this disease. 

The family friendly event will include the meaningful banner contest during the walk, great house music, a variety of vendor and giveaways, food trucks, a performance by Matt Butler* and an overall fun environment! Together, and only together, our collective message of hope and intent to educate and brand recovery a program of attraction, not depravation, is saving lives!


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