Heroes in Recovery celebrates the heroic efforts of those who seek the addiction and mental health help they need without feeling ashamed or isolated. This grassroots movement is intended to remove the social stigma and to connect those in recovery through sharing our stories and engaging in community together.

Heroes in Recovery

Who We Are

Heroes in Recovery is a movement ignited by Foundations Recovery Network and the widespread community of those who are in recovery from addiction and co-occurring disorders. We discovered that while 23 million people each year need help for addiction, only three million actually seek treatment. We’re looking to reach the other 20 million– those who may not be seeking help due to the overwhelming stigma that often surrounds substance abuse and mental health disorders.

Heroes in Recovery has a simple mission: to eliminate the social stigma that keeps individuals with addiction and mental health issues from seeking help, to share stories of recovery for the purpose of encouragement and inspiration, and to create an engaged sober community that empowers people to get involved, give back, and live healthy, active lives.

We’re holding events across the country, seeking to inspire a sense of community wherever we can. One of our main events is our 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. We chose a 6K to symbolize the extra effort it takes to sustain recovery and so that each kilometer would represent one of the six letters in the word “HEROES.”  Our inaugural 6K was held in 2011 on a race course in Leiper’s Fork, Tenn., during the month of September (National Recovery Month). Since then, we have had a number of successful races across the country, and the number of races— and participants— continues to grow!

The Heroes movement has begun with strong momentum, but it still needs your help. We’re asking people in recovery to share their stories with us so that others who are struggling can realize that there’s life on the other side of drugs and alcohol.

With your help, we look forward to a future of enabling others to get help, encouraging those who are getting treatment, and celebrating with those who have won the fight to stay clean and sober. We believe that it takes a heroic effort to maintain recovery day in and day out. That’s what the Heroes movement seeks to emphasize. And we want to prove that courage—and hope—are contagious.

Join us today. Share your story, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and become part of the movement!

More about Foundations Recovery Network (FRN): FRN is a drug and alcohol treatment provider with four residential rehab centers: Michael’s House in Palm Springs, Calif., The Oaks at La Paloma in Memphis, Tenn., Black Bear Lodge in Helen, Ga., and The Canyon in Malibu, Calif. It also has eight outpatient clinics, including FRN Atlanta locations in Midtown Atlanta and Roswell, Georgia, and services in Palm Springs, Memphis, Santa Monica, Nashville, San Diego and San Francisco. FRN is recognized as the premier leader in integrated treatment for co-occurring addiction and mental health concerns.



Hillary Belk

Hillary Belk

Hello! My name is Hillary Belk. I am very happy to be coming back for my second year as a lead advocate! I am also in long-term recovery and have been since July 10, 2008. I’m very grateful for sobriety and God’s love, which is the only way I am still alive. I love recovery; I find new ways to keep it fresh everyday. I am currently working for Hope Homes as a life skills counselor for our Charlotte, NC, women’s sober living. I also serve on the Young People in Recovery National Council and hold a position as one of the chapter leads of YPR-North Carolina.

When I got sober, school became a priority again. I obtained an associate’s degree at Central Piedmont Community College. I then went on to obtain my bachelor’s degree at UNC-Charlotte, majoring in communications-public relations. While I was at UNC-Charlotte, I was able to help start the first Collegiate Recovery Community in North Carolina. My passion is a calling. I was very blessed to be a part of something so invaluable. I believe that I was put in the right place at the right time. Sobriety is a gift. All the many opportunities that have come my way have been a direct result of a lot of hard work and dedication.

In the future, I would like to write a book, help open up a 24-hour recovery recreation center and continue to help move the recovery movement forward! I am so excited for this brand new year and all the new energy that will be put into growing the Heroes message, not to mention all the amazing things that come with seeing recovery as a heroic journey! Here we go!

Bo Brown

Bo Brown

Hello! My name is Bo Brown, and I am excited and honored to have been chosen to be a new member of the Heroes in Recovery movement team! After years of battling addiction and depression, I found recovery at Michael’s House in Palm Springs, California, in 2013. Being in recovery has given me the tools to face daily challenges that in the past seemed too daunting to handle. I hope that sharing my experiences will encourage others to seek help when battling the disease of addiction. I currently reside in Nashville, Tennessee, where I have been an exceptional education teacher for 22 years.

Dean Dauphinais

Dean Dauphinais

As the father of a person in long-term recovery, I have spent more than 10 years on a journey I never thought I’d be on. My 25-year-old son’s struggles with depression and addiction began at the age of 15, and at the age of 22 he finally got clean and sober. I have also been sober since September 10, 2008, when I was told by a therapist in a family session at my son’s treatment facility to “be the change you want to see in your son.”

Although the years spent dealing with my son’s issues were at once maddening, frustrating, and, most of all, terrifying, they were also educational and life-changing. People sometimes give me a strange look when I tell them that my son’s addiction has made me a better person, but it’s true.

I believe in hope, grace, gratitude, unconditional love, living in the moment, the power of the written word, and Anne Lamott. My passion is helping others, and the reason I share my experiences via Heroes in Recovery, my personal blog, social media, and websites like The Huffington Post is simple: I want to help make life a little bit easier for others who may be struggling, and I want to help BREAK THE STIGMA associated with addiction and depression.

Susanne Johnson

Susanne Johnson

Originally from Germany, Susanne Johnson has traveled the world, living on three continents and visiting nearly 50 countries. She earned a degree in business administration and worked as a hotel and restaurant manager in Germany for several years. While living in Egypt in 1997, she married an American. In 2006, her journey led her to the US when she and her husband moved to California. After years of battling addiction, she found recovery at Michael’s House in Palm Springs, CA, in 2010. She continues to attend three or four recovery group meetings per week and enjoys spending time with many friends who are in recovery. She also takes time to speak about addiction and recovery at a variety of meetings and events.

The joy that Susanne feels in her new life led her to become involved as a lead advocate with Heroes in Recovery in 2012. She says that this organization is where her inspiration for helping others to achieve sobriety found its start. Her goal now is to help others to achieve sobriety and remind the public to have acceptance and tolerance for those who seek help for addiction or mental health problems. “It would be my dream come true to see people who need help get treatment without feeling shame or guilt and to see the world have tolerance and understanding for the disease of addiction,” Susanne says. She now resides in the small community of Metropolis, IL, where her husband is currently placed for his job.

Jaime McDonald

Jaime McDonald

Hello everyone! My name is Jaime McDonald, and I am honored and grateful to be one of the lead advocates for Heroes in Recovery. I was born and raised in Huntersville/Lake Norman, NC, and still reside there today.

I understand all too well the struggles people go through with addiction, having battled my own demons for 12 years with alcoholism after losing my fiancé to suicide in 1998. I entered long-term recovery on April 25, 2010, at the age of 32. I am so thankful for the support system I had when I began my recovery and for those same people who are here for me during my growth in sobriety. Addiction can be tragic, but recovery is such a beautiful place to be.

I’m so blessed to be a part of Heroes in Recovery and have the opportunity to help share the stories of those who have fought the fight and won. I feel that every success story that’s shared can help guide someone to another successful ending against these tragic diseases.

When I’m not working to bring awareness to addiction and mental illness with Heroes in Recovery, you can find me on the trails or roads near my house. I am an avid ultrarunner, which has taken me to beautiful places like Iceland, the Grand Canyon and all around the USA. It has given me a great sense of pride and accomplishment and gives me the best gift of all: meeting incredible people along the way. I wake up every morning thankful for the second chance at life that I have been given. I plan on using this second chance to do all I can to break the stigma and get the conversation started, so those battling addiction and mental illness don’t have to be plagued by the stigma I fought for so long.

Marta Mrotek

Marta Mrotek

My personal interest in healing began at a young age in a home deeply affected by the mental and terminal illness of early onset Alzheimer’s disease. In many ways, that one factor in early childhood has always defined my path. Progressing through my mother’s death and several other traumatic deaths, my own co-dependency, and the need for healing, I reached a point of desperation in the overwhelming reality of my children’s addiction. The pain of loving and trying to parent two heroin addicts has been, by far, the most difficult, terrifying and heart-wrenching experience of my life. Somehow, by God’s grace, through various fellowships and practices, both of my children made it through alive, and miraculously we all found ourselves on the other side of that horrific time stronger than ever. Today our family lives and serves together in the recovery community with a burning desire to carry the message of hope and peace that we have so graciously been given.

I have been deeply humbled and greatly blessed by the people I have met in recovery. I have learned that the need for healing is nothing to be ashamed of, that miracles do happen, and that recovery is for everyone. My passion for teaching yoga and the holistic aspect of the healing process has become the focus of my professional life. I’ve written two books about holistic recovery that I use to conduct weekly wellness meetings and recovery yoga classes for the general public. I am truly honored to be here with all of you and so excited for this opportunity to help break the stigma with Heroes in Recovery.


Who (or what) is a Hero in Recovery?

A Hero in Recovery is any individual who has found the courage to reach out for help with substance abuse and/or mental health issues and is living a life in recovery. A hero in recovery is also any friend or family member who has endured the effects of addiction and who continues to support and celebrate the long-term recovery of their friends and family.

How did Heroes in Recovery get started?

Heroes in Recovery is a movement ignited by Foundations Recovery Network and the widespread community of those who are in recovery from addiction and co-occurring disorders. We discovered that while 23 million people each year need help for addiction, only three million actually seek treatment. We’re reaching out to the other 20 million – those who may not be seeking help due to the overwhelming stigma that often surrounds substance abuse and mental health disorders.

What is the mission of Heroes in Recovery?

To eliminate the social stigma that keeps individuals with addiction and mental health issues from seeking help, to share stories of recovery for the purpose of encouragement and inspiration, and to create an engaged sober community that empowers people to get involved, give back, and live healthy, active lives.

Are you a non-profit organization?

Heroes in Recovery is currently a for-profit organization with a charitable spirit. We regularly support and partner with local 501(c)3 organizations in conjunction with many of our events. Additionally, we help raise money and do service work with many worthy causes that fit within our mission. For example, each of our Heroes 6K races has a designated local non-profit 501(c)3 that benefits  from each of these great events.

What is a Heroes in Recovery Lead Advocate?

Our Heroes in Recovery lead advocates are individuals who are either personally in recovery or whose lives have been directly impacted by a friend or family member’s substance abuse or mental health issues. These lead advocates are integral to the movement because they are active in their recovery communities, sharing the mission of Heroes in Recovery to break the stigma. They help by collecting the Heroes stories, hosting events to raise awareness and blogging on the Heroes in Recovery website with words of encouragement based on their personal journeys.

What is a Heroes 6K?

The Heroes 6K run/walk event was created to raise awareness about the millions of individuals in the US alone who need treatment and do not reach out for help because of the social stigma associated with substance abuse and mental health issues. The Heroes 6K — not 5K, but 6K — celebrates those who have found the courage to seek help and are now living lives in recovery. The extra kilometer is symbolic of the extra distance those in recovery go every day. Each kilometer also represents one of the six letters in the word “HEROES.”

How can I share my recovery event with Heroes?

Visit the Events portion of the Heroes in Recovery website and share details about your recovery event, including the title, description, date, location, time and website link.

How will my story make a difference?

Whether your story is about you or a loved one, it’s a journey that could inspire another person to get treatment or to reach out for help. It can provide hope and encouragement for those who may feel lost or alone. With each story shared, you could be inspiring someone who may not be seeking help due to the overwhelming stigma that often surrounds substance abuse and mental health disorders. 

If I share my story, will my story get shared anywhere else?

If you choose to share your story, you will be asked to agree to our terms of use. From time to time, we share stories via social and traditional media, but any links or republications will specifically be produced by us. We do not grant others any right to reproduce content from any of our sites.

Who can share a story on HeroesinRecovery.com?

Anyone whose life has been touched by addiction or mental health issues has a story to tell that could be inspirational and informative to others. It doesn’t matter if you are in recovery yourself, or if you’d like to share a story about someone you know or love who managed to break the stigma and helped to lower the barrier for others to seek treatment and live a more powerful life.

Why are you collecting stories?

We began collecting stories because everyone has a story, and every story has the power to change lives. When looking at an issue as big as addiction and mental health, the numbers can be overwhelming. That’s why we want the numbers to be replaced by the stories of real people living real lives. Common ground and shared humanity can change the dynamics entirely.

Once I submit my story, what are the next steps?

First, thank you for being a part of the movement. Once you have submitted your story, it will be reviewed by our editors to check spelling, punctuation, etc. The turnaround time before it is posted is usually 2-3 weeks. You will be notified via the email address you submitted the day before your story is posted.

How can I get more involved with Heroes in Recovery?

There are many ways to get involved. You can share our site with others who would appreciate our mission. You can follow us on social media or sign up for our newsletter to keep up-to-date with all of our activities and inspirational materials. You can volunteer at our events, apply to be a lead advocate or even nominate someone for our annual Heroes in Recovery award. We welcome your support and energy at any level.

If I am, or someone I know is, in need of treatment, can Heroes in Recovery help?

Yes. We have caring admissions coordinators available right now who can help you or a loved one find the best treatment for your situation. Reach out to us directly at 1-888-312-4220.

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