On February 20th, I participated in an event at the State Capitol that left me with a lasting sentiment of support and desire for change for the recovery community in Utah. Those who gathered for the rally were energetic, enthusiastic and most importantly, invested in a future of hope.

As I entered the Capitol, I observed many people carrying signs with attention-grabbing phrases and pictures of loved ones who had been lost to suicide or addiction. Two signs that spoke to me read, “We are recovery” and another, “Embrace your struggle, no more lives lost!” The devotion and passion that each attendee and support group demonstrated towards the process of recovery was eye-opening and inspiring.

Before interning with the Sobriety Foundation, I had little exposure to organizations that actively assist with recovery, and so I was and continue to be amazed by how many different programs and facilities provide vital and unique services for those in need.

The Utah Support Advocates for Recovery Awareness (USARA) handed out pamphlets that contained all the programs offered for those in recovery, and as I reviewed the sheet I was astonished by the numerous resources and opportunities available to those who are struggling. Their weekly calendar contained over 20 different  recovery support group meetings for those struggling with anything from family-specified issues to non-traditional recovery solutions.

In addition, The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) also provided a plethora of information and informed of the assistance they provide through support programs, education programs and school programs in Utah.

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the afternoon was how many people showed up with a sincere hunger for change, and how many individuals were present to show how their lives had been affected by addiction or mental illness. These people are the ones who make a genuine difference in these movements. They know that their presence at the Capitol can impact the lives and future of others, which is why they rally.

They believe that by standing up for others and ending the stigma against mental illness and addiction that those embedded in their struggle will no longer feel the pain of perceived loneliness in their hardship. Many powerful and dynamic individuals spoke their truth at the rally. However, the unforgettable truth is that treatment works, help is here and recovery is reachable through treatment and sober living.

Written by Mia Magnotto, Sobriety Foundation Intern