By September 30, John Winslow wants to celebrate recovery by turning the world purple from Niagara Falls to the Samuel Beckett Bridge in Dublin and your porchlight. He’s doing it one day at a time throughout September, leading up to International Recovery Day on September 30.
Winslow’s lifelong career in the addiction recovery movement has prepared him for this endeavor. He was former President of the Maryland Addiction Directors Council, former Founder and Director of Dri-Dock Recovery and Wellness Center, Former Director of Addictions and Co-Occurring Services at Dorchester Health Department, and former Coordinator; Recovery Leadership Program at the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD-MD).
If that’s not enough, the life-long Eastern Shore resident founded International Recovery Day to seek worldwide awareness about addiction recovery no matter the pathway to recovery one might be taking.
Winslow cites the 2014 The Anonymous People movie and recovery movement as his inspiration to take the addiction recovery movement to an international level and specifically include all recovery pathways from 12-step programs to other individualized therapies. It’s a message of inclusion, what Winslow calls a “We” celebration of recovery that expands The Anonymous People’s mission to destigmatize addiction.
As Winslow formed his idea of an International Recovery Day, he reached out to Greg Williams, Founder of The Anonymous People, and the esteemed addiction historian William White, author of Slaying the Dragon: The History of Addiction Treatment and Recovery in America. Both saw the transformative value of international networking. Williams joined the Steering Committee along with 28 members from the United States, Scotland, Malaysia, Australia, Ireland, Nigeria, Ghana, and Canada to guide the non-profit through its inaugural year.
Signing up at The International Recovery Day website or Facebook page will let registrants participate in the online event on September 30. Recovery fireworks will go off in the digital globe, symbolizing worldwide interconnectivity.
In the meantime, each day, additional key worldwide monuments and structures will become purple.
The International Recovery Day Project couldn’t come at a better time. All of September is National Recovery Month, an annual observance” to educate Americans that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those with mental and substance use disorders to live healthy and rewarding lives. Winslow wants to catapult recovery awareness into the community of the world.
And then there’s the global pandemic. Already, data reveals that US overdose deaths, which had begun to drop, are now up 5% from the 69,000+ recorded in 2019 as the consequences of isolation, treatment center closures and wide availability of fentanyl and heroin are playing out.
With the addition of purple-lighted awareness, however, the recovery movement and addiction awareness get an added boost as it become an annual celebration of addiction recovery.
International Recovery Day is a free online event launched globally during September and a special online event on September 30.
The Spy talked with John Winslow about it via Zoom. The conversation begins with how the Anonymous People movement moved the 12-step recovery programs into public recognition and how International Recovery Day will move the recovery movement forward and worldwide.
The video is approximately six minutes long.