I Will Be Gathering with 100,000 Others for UNITE to Face Addiction on October 4, 2015

I Will Be Gathering with 100,000 Others to Face Addiction on October 4, 2015


Former House Speaker Tip O’Neill once said, “All politics is local.” As a recovering politico and alcoholic, all politics—and all recovery—has become local and personal to me. If you are anything like me, you know recovery works when we get honest about ourselves to share our experience, strength and hope with others. Luckily for us, groups like Facing Addiction, a national non-profit organization, exist for the sole purpose of “rebranding addiction” to help people get personal—and go public—about what their recovery means to them.

On October 4th, 2015, Facing Addiction will bring recovery to the forefront with the UNITE to Face Addiction rally in Washington, DC. The rally has attracted notable celebrities, including Steven Tyler, Sheryl Crow, Joe Walsh from the Eagles, members of The Fray and John Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls, who are all scheduled to perform. This will be the first national attempt to unite all sorts of advocacy groups for addiction. The event is scheduled to take place at the National Mall and is expected to gather 100,000 people (including me!).  A rally at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and a march to the White House will proceed the event on October 3rd.

The main event on October 4th will run from approximately 4 to 8 pm and will include a “call to action.” Speakers from treatment advocacy groups as well as that star-studded lineup of musical guests will get personal about how recovery affects them by addressing the negative stigma that can change when enough (awesome) people say enough is enough: “The history of the advocacy movement in America,” organizer Michael King explains, “is the effect of stigma and shoddy policy.” This event will be a day of advocacy to “achieve a health response to addiction” and “improve public safety and protect civil liberties to enhance health outcomes of those in or seeking recovery from addiction involved with the criminal justice system.” Action steps include thanking members of Congress who co-sponsor The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), asking members of Congress to co-sponsor CARA because of its bi-partisan appeal, and asking members of Congress to support the REDEEM Act.

UNITE to Face Addiction started as an inspiration that became a reality: “The success of the film The Anonymous People, ignited the UNITE Against Addiction movement,” King says. People in the film shared their experiences in recovery, without the fear of being seen as recovering alcoholics and addicts. The bravery of people sharing their personal stories encouraged the founders of Facing Addiction to take recovery a step further with this event. Participants in the film and over 400 groups of recovery organizations will be present, including the National Drug Court Association, the Unified Prevention Coalition and the Chris Atwood organization. The success of this event depends on the people and organizations who step up in a public forum to talk about addiction and policies that affect over 23 million Americans.

The UNITE to Face Addiction rally builds momentum as the days inch closer to October 4th. Outreach team members and partners for the event are gathering support as I write this. Recovery advocates, politicos and former politicos like myself will join Washingtonians for an event worth remembering—one that just might spark a movement.

Photo Courtesy of John Scorza (https://www.navy.mil/view_image.asp?id=46837) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (resized and cropped)



  1. Diane Restaino on

    i wish I could attend the rally!!! I actually took a small leave of absence from teaching so that I could help u daughter who had just had her first child!!! My beautiful boy Vic overdosed in our home on Sept 23,2014. He had been sober was excited to start treatment with a new doctor and was about to start a wonderful new HR position! Someone delivered fentanyl laced heroin yo our mailbox and my son made that stupid one last fatal slip!!! We did everything possible. His dad had been an army medic etc rtf!!! The reports listed fentanyl and heroine!!! He had no chance!!!!! Please tell me what I can do to help this cause!!! I speak out, I belong to two Massachusetts groups and I had wanted to go to the rally!!!! I feel in my heart I want to stay close to home because of my daughter!!! We have all been through hell and she lost s pregnancy shortly after our son died!!! I never thought my life would be like yhis!!! Two kids great education, same family, same parents, church, work, colleges, sports, friends, WHY!!! America has to wake up!!!!’ Please get back to me

    • Lucy Morrisette on


      Thank you for your message. I am so sorry to hear of your son Vic’s passing. This rally will bring to light our need as a society to address the stigma of addiction. Your work to tell your story is the most important thing you can do. The organizers of the rally are working to put together a telecast of the event so people all over the country can join in the comfort of their own homes. The Unite To Face Addiction website offers lots of great updates and information on the activities that are planned for October 4. If you can, please share your story with others, following the link here https://www.facingaddiction.org/share-your-story.


  2. Pingback: Off The Sauce September | Recoveratti

  3. I lost my son on March the 4th of this year. He always talked about having lunch with Joe Walsh in Detroit when the James gang to a small tour. Jimmy Fox is a very good friend of mine and he knew Garrett since he was born. Joe could not have been nicer and would love to make it to this show. Garrett died of a herion overdose at the age of 24

    • Ken,

      Thank you for sharing about your son, Garrett. I am so sorry for your loss. This performance will mean even more knowing that it will honor your son and many others who have been lost to addiction. My thoughts, prayers and intentions are with you and your family.


  4. ? ??❤️?HEROIN has KILLED someone you know !??❤️??

    We have watched HEROIN KILL the unknown through the change of the millennium & onto the destruction of Our children today …

    In reality , the only things that have changed, is the names , faces & young ages of those Heroin is now taking !

    “Our culture emphasizes self-determination and willpower… We want to be masters of our own destiny, but sometimes we aren’t.”
    A parents powerlessness over a child’s addiction, is the most difficult experience a parent goes through upon first encountering the disease , on such an intimate level ?

    Society must Today, start educating Every baby, in Our history of addiction.
    Tell the truth of the way heroin has destroyed generations and will TAKE YOUR LIFE. This is the only way to preserve their future and save them from themselves , self destructing …

    Spread ??❤️?? ADDICTION AWARENESS??❤️?? in Elementary Schools Today. ??❤️?? Sincerely, Craig/Dad-2

    We could REALY use public figure support as we grow around the world …
    … 53 countries and counting !

  5. Is this going to be recorded and posted somewhere so people like me who don’t live near or can’t travel to Washington dc. Can watch it? That would be very awesome I am sharing with my friends in recovery. Thanks and keep us posted. 🙂

    • Wendy (Hoogterp) Franken on

      I lost my daughter at 23, diagnosed w depression at 17, aggravated by drug use. She began on taking another’s prescription meds for adhd adderrall. Which led to Victorian, crack, pot, heroin which eventually took her life from her son, brothers lost their ownly sister, only daughter in family of 4 children. So sad what addiction can do to a beautiful girl and spirit and her zest for life she once had. We love and miss you Aubrey Jade Hoogterp 6/25/89 -9/1/12. Thank you so much for helping this epidemic now in America. Love and hugs to all involved.
      Wendy (Hoogterp) Franken

      • Wendy,

        I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Thank you for sharing what you have been through. Most of all, thank you for your support–Aubrey will be there with us in spirit.


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Lucy is a writer, recovering politico and sober alcoholic following her bliss. She lives in Virginia with her husband and manages Pop Up Write Up, a creative, supportive online space for writers to share new ideas.