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Recovery Week Calgary educates to remove stigma around addiction

By Sophia Lopez, September 2 2021–

Recovery Day Calgary takes place on Sept. 19 this year at Olympic Plaza. Leading up to that day, workshops will be held to celebrate recovery and to encourage ending the stigma regarding addiction. The event will feature food, prizes, exhibitors and speakers who will share their experiences of recovery and working with those recovering from substance use disorder. 

Lisa Simone, one of the organizers for Recovery Day Calgary, spoke with the Gauntlet to discuss the importance of the event and the history behind it. 

The national communications director at Fresh Start Recovery Centre discussed how Recovery Day Calgary came to be in 2013 and how she and another person in recovery were inspired by the work done in Vancouver and Victoria to promote recovery education. They subsequently advocated for a Recovery Day to be held in Calgary.

“So much gets highlighted about addiction that I think we need to also be talking about the solution, which is really why Recovery Day exists,” said Simone. “Recovery Day is a celebration of the solution of recovery — so the freedom from addiction, the freedom into recovery. There are many pathways to and through recovery.”

An important aspect of Recovery Day includes the presence of the many people involved in the recovery process, such as treatment providers. On Recovery Day, those people will share their experiences and help educate the public on the process of recovery and the stigma surrounding it. 

A big portion of people in recovery have families and jobs — Simone believes it is very important to educate people on what the life of someone in recovery is really like.

“I think it’s about information education,” she said. “Most of the people that speak at the event are in line from recovery.”

The process of recovery doesn’t just include the person recovering from addiction — it includes the people around them as well. Recovery Day Calgary aims to raise awareness and support for those who have loved ones recovering, as it is important for them to get help as well. 

“It isn’t just the person that struggles with substance use disorder that needs the help,” said Simone. “It is the families, it’s the friends, it’s the employer.”

Simone also addressed how students can be a part of the solution of recovery if they start to educate themselves early on and understand that anyone can be affected by it. She encourages students to come out to the event and show support.

“Early education, early intervention,” she said. “Understanding that addiction doesn’t discriminate — addiction can really impact anyone. If students understand what recovery is then maybe they can also be a part of the solution.”

To find out more about Recovery Week, when workshops are taking place and other information, visit the Recovery Day Calgary website.

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