WHAT IS HEROES IN RECOVERY?

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.

News

Advocates

Susan Beckett

Susan Beckett

Hi. I am very excited to start this journey as a lead advocate for Heroes in Recovery. I started as an enabler at a very young age, because I was a child of an alcoholic father. Unfortunately, I later learned there was a strong family history of alcohol abuse and depression in my family. Although I had experimented with various recreational drugs in my youth, I was fortunate, by the Grace of God, to come through it safely. I married and had two wonderful boys; however, our marriage was complicated with alcohol. Yes, I had married an alcoholic.

We eventually divorced. During that period of turmoil, my oldest son began cutting himself. We focused on his behavior by attending counseling. Being distracted by this behavior, my youngest son began using drugs without our recognition. This went on for several years.

I eventually remarried a man with a history of drug and alcohol abuse who tried to point out the dysfunctions that were occurring with my children, but I was in denial. I am a nurse practitioner, how could I miss it? However, I did.

My youngest son had become a heroin addict. After many rehabilitation and recovery programs, the cycle of abuse and relapse continued for 10 years until he was arrested and was required to face legal consequences. Today he is clean, working, and living in a sober living community. My oldest son has had to deal with his scars, but continues to work through his issues which resulted from his self-injury. He is in school and looking forward to a college degree in the medical field.

As a mother, I have realized no matter how much I love my children and want to protect and help them, this is their life and their journey. With a great deal of prayer and faith in God, I am here to support and guide them– and most of all love them.

Bo Brown

Bo Brown

Hello! My name is Bo Brown and I have been in recovery since November 5, 2013. Sobriety has given me a second lease on life. I enjoy waking up each day and seeing what life has to offer. I am very excited to start my second year with Heroes in Recovery. Heroes in Recovery has given me the opportunity to meet many amazing people that want to share their story of recovery and break the stigma of addiction and mental health issues. I currently reside in Nashville, Tennessee where I have been an exceptional education teacher for 23 years.

Abby Foster

Abby Foster

My name is Abby Foster and I am a woman in long-term recovery. For me, this means that I have not used alcohol or other drugs since August 3, 2013. Recovery has given me my life back and for that I am grateful and forever indebted.

My struggle with substances began when I was thirteen years old. Years of living in active addiction brought me and those closest to me great pain and anguish. I suffered from anxiety and depression. I no longer recognized the person I had become.

After the birth of my son, I realized that I was unable to be the mother I had always wanted to be because of my addiction. I became desperate to make a change. I knew that I would need help, that I would be unable to do it on my own because I had tried and failed innumerable times. I found recovery through a twelve-step fellowship and individual therapy. Recovery has brought stability to my life. I received my undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where I am a member of the Collegiate Recovery Community. I am currently working toward earning my master’s degree in social work and plan to become a licensed clinical addiction specialist.

Recovery has given me a purpose and a voice. I have learned that by embracing my story and shedding light on all of the parts of myself I so desperately tried to hide, I became empowered and am able to bring hope to others. On October 5, 2015, the day following the Unite to Face Addiction Rally on the National Mall, I meet with members of congress as part of Advocacy Day to demand solutions to the addiction crisis. But the greatest gift of all is that recovery has made it possible for me to be a loving, attentive, and present mother to my son.

I am extremely grateful and excited to have been chosen as one of the lead advocates for Heroes in Recovery. This platform allows me to contribute in the elimination of the social stigma that keeps people with addiction and mental health issues from seeking and receiving the help they deserve. It is my desire that through sharing my story others will feel empowered and unashamed to share their own and those messages of hope to find those who are still suffering.

Chris Freeman

Chris Freeman

Hello, my name is Chris Freeman and I’m truly excited to be a part of the team here at Heroes in Recovery. I’m in recovery for drugs and alcohol and I’ve been clean and sober since January 12, 2014.

I know firsthand how paralyzing the stigma of addiction can be. I carried the weight of being addicted to heroin for far too long by myself. The fear of being judged and ridiculed was too great for me to come forward and admit my problem to others.

That’s why I’m so passionate about dispelling the myth that addiction and mental health issues should be kept in secrecy. I think that it’s about time that we as a society took a second look at the way we view addiction and mental illness and I’m so honored to be a part of that here at Heroes in Recovery.

Nadine Herring

Nadine Herring

Hi, my name is Nadine Herring and I am so happy and honored to serve as a new Lead Advocate for Heroes in Recovery!

As the spouse and sibling of loved ones in long-term recovery, I know the joy that recovery can bring but I also know the devastation that comes from addiction because I lost my brother from alcoholism eight years ago and I don’t want another family to suffer that pain.

I look at addiction and recovery from the family perspective as we are often the forgotten ones in the battle against addiction and our voices are seldom heard. I advocate for family members dealing with addiction to make sure that we have access to treatment as well, because our recovery is just as important as our loved ones. If we are not given the tools we need, we are only treating half the problem and that will sabotage any chance our loved ones have for long-term recovery success. When we as family members accept, acknowledge, understand and act we have the ability to break the stigma surrounding addiction and literally save lives.

The other impact I hope to have by serving as a lead advocate, sharing my story, and collecting the stories of others is to help communities of color realize that there is no shame in having a family member who suffers from addiction. For people of color, the stigma of addiction and mental illness is so strong that it keeps people from seeking the help they so desperately need. This also impacts the families that suffer along with them in silence. I want my community to know better so we can do better and come out of the shadows and into the light of recovery.

Susanne Johnson

Susanne Johnson

I am originally from Germany, but I have traveled the world, living on three continents and visiting nearly 50 countries. I 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, I married an American and moved to California in 2006. I now reside in Metropolis, IL where my husband works.

After years of battling addiction, I found recovery at Michael’s House in Palm Springs, CA, in 2010. I graduated from multiple continuous education programs and trainings since, which empower me to successfully lead families into recovery as a Certified Interventionist and Certified Recovery Coach today. I also take time to speak about addiction and recovery at a variety of meetings and events.

The joy that I feel in my new life led me to become involved as a lead advocate with Heroes in Recovery in 2012. This organization is where my inspiration for helping others achieve sobriety found its start. My goal now is to help others 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.

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.

Margaret Phillips

Margaret Phillips

Once upon a time, there was a girl who by all accounts had everything going for her. A great family, good education, lots of friends, talent in sports, and she was tough as nails. Seemed like, at least on the outside, she was going to be unstoppable. There was nothing she couldn’t accomplish. Then alcoholism and addiction took over. The exterior fairy tale was really a nightmare in disguise for about 30 years beginning at age eight. Guess who she was? Yep, me.
Fast forward through car wrecks, overdoses, self-mutilation, and major loss into today where you’ll find a very different woman. A woman in long term recovery since May 3, 2008 who is still amazed each and every morning that I get to wake up clean and sober– because for a long time I never wanted to wake up at all. Before recovery, my prayers were to please let me die tonight as I can’t face another day of this misery. And by all accounts I should never have woken up on many a night.

Today, however, my prayers are full of gratitude for everything in my life– the good, the bad, and the ugly. Without all of it mixed together, I would not be who I am. Through these experiences in my recovery journey that I’ve found what true inner peace is for me. On my flight home from treatment at The Oaks at La Paloma, I wrote this in my journal: “I feel true serenity and peace which I’ve never experienced in my previous moments of sobriety. It’s scary because I don’t know what to do with it yet.” That was a number of years ago now and I can tell you that I embrace it, hold it tight, and fiercely protect it because I never want that feeling to go away. It took me so long to get it!

Recovery has afforded me many great opportunities both personally and professionally. When Heroes in Recovery created their lead advocate opportunity, I knew I wanted to do it. The timing just wasn’t right until now and as usual God’s timing is way better than mine. There are so many of us still out there that are afraid to ask for help, can’t afford it, don’t know where to turn, or are just trapped in a system with no resources to get out. I want to make a difference for those people. Those are the individuals that drive me each day to find ways to break the stigma of addiction and bring change in public opinion about who and what an addict is.

We have a disease. I’d like to see society treat it with the same care and compassion as any other disease. I’m excited for this journey to begin with Heroes in Recovery! As always, I’m eternally grateful to those at La Paloma that never gave up on me. I want to keep paying that forward.

FAQs

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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