“By sharing our stories, it seems, we invite each other into our worlds. This enhances our interconnectedness, shared awareness, and possibilities for fruitful interaction.” 

Stories have power.

The telling of the personal story has long been a cornerstone of connectedness, one of humanities most basic needs is connection to others.

FAVOR US continue their Recovery Advocacy Week 2016 #RAAW16 with the social media hashtag #OurStoriesHavePower so we thought we would take a look at three specific story telling projects that support this idea.

Working from their New York HQ I Am Not Anonymous is a media awareness campaign project founded by photographer Kate Meyer and Tom Goris, who is in long term Recovery. An open invitation stands to Have your portrait taken and share your recovery journey on the IANA website and throughout their social media channels. IANA aims to change the stigma associated with addiction and “show the world that we do recover” through images and personal stories. They say “The world knows all too well what addiction looks like.  What it has yet to truly learn is what recovery looks like. These personal recovery stories will hopefully provide both an education and a source of hope in the midst of a monumental public health crisis.” IANA have staged exhibitions of the work in various parts of the US.

We say great work, great stories! The stunning black and white portraits add another dimension toward making these personal stories accessible and meaningful.

Foundations Recovery Network helped establish Heroes Of Recovery in Tennessee, a movement of those who are in recovery from addiction. They have a simple if challenging mission: to eliminate the social stigma that keeps individuals with addiction and mental health issues from seeking help. They aim to share stories of recovery for the purpose of encouragement and inspiration on their website creating an engaged sober community that empowers people to get involved. With a focus on giving back, and living healthy, active lives they hold events across America seeking to inspire a sense of local community involvement. HOR’s signature event is a series of Heroes 6K races – not 5K, but 6K – to create awareness about the need for treatment and to support those who are in recovery. Choosing a 6K to symbolize the extra effort it takes to sustain recovery the inaugural run was held in September 2011 (International Recovery Month). Since then the number and frequency of races— and participants— continues to grow.

The Heroes movement seeks to emphasize the heroic effort required to maintain recovery day in and day out and to prove that courage—and hope—are contagious.

In Cape Town, South Africa, British photographer (in recovery) Fiona McCosh created Sober & Sexy in 2015. Sober And Sexy looks at the problem of addiction and the solution of recovery through an intimate lens with a set of life portraits representing a diverse mix of the Mother City’s recovery community. Opening as an exhibition the work was developed into a high quality wall calendar for 2016 with profits from the sales of the calendar and prints benefitting the Cape Town Drug Counselling Centre. Fiona is currently shooting for the 2017 exhibition and calendar. The exhibition and calendar feature the subject’s stories accompanied by their portrait inviting viewers to share past pain and future hope.

One of the most encouraging signs of Recovery is the number of projects we could have mentioned, and almost certainly will in the future.

From the start of the 12 Step fellowships, through years of the development of a variety of therapeutic models the importance of the personal story to our own recovery, and to the support of others has been proven time and time again. We suggest you share your story, because Your Story Has Power!

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