Great Falls Nonprofit Organizes First “Recovery Advocacy Day”

Great Falls Nonprofit Organizes First “Recovery Advocacy Day”

Lela Graham (center) organized Montana’s first Recovery Advocacy Day at the Capitol.

Earlier this week, Recovery Advocates organized by the Independence Rock Coalition : Center for Ethics, Recovery and Social Justice, who traveled from all over Montana, converged on the Montana Capitol to talk with legislators and  network with other advocates across Montana. This was the first year that there has been a concerted effort to organize a Recovery Advocacy Day, and we have a lot of work to do to have an undeniable presence. 

I helped organize Recovery Advocacy Day because I am a person in long-term recovery and live my recovery out loud. For too long those who struggled with addiction have kept quiet. I have chosen to not live in the dark, hanging out in basements and staying silent. Addiction does not discriminate and it affects everyone in some way. I have hope that more people will feel comfortable talking about their journey because we showed up.

I was pleased that we had people stop by our table and ask who we were and why we were there. I’m grateful only one person was snarky and said they did not know anyone who dealt with addiction. We passed out dozens of our “I am in Recovery and I Vote” stickers, and I was happy to see them when I walked through the Capitol. 

We were acknowledged from the House Floor by Rep. George Nikolakakos (R-Great Falls) and received waves from various members of the House during the introduction. 

Penny Ronning made the trip from Billings to lend support to the cause. During the campaign of 2022, I often heard her mention the need for treatment options and more resources for those seeking recovery. 

Even though the turnout was small, it was powerful! We will continue to build the Recovery Advocacy Community in Montana and am excited to see how powerful our voice will become.