(11/13/2019) This year’s Multiple Pathways of Recovery conference (MPRC) began today. Bigger than last year’s — with nearly double the attendees — it comes at a time of greater urgency than ever for the recovery movement. And as Michael Askew, Director of Recovery Advocacy for the organizing force behind the conference, CCAR, pointed out, MPRC is the recovery conference. 

The conference began with a presentation from the always entertaining, funny and poignant Mark Lundholm. Lundholm has turned his years of addiction and decades in recovery into a comedy “hammer” that disarms while it communicates. At one point during the presentation, Lundholm asked those in recovery for more than 30 years to stand, then those for 20 years, then 10 years until nearly the entire audience was on its feet. “There’s your evidence-based result,” Lundholm noted. 

The message was clear: recovery works.  

Meghann Perry of Phoenix Tales Recovery Storytelling spoke about the power of individual stories and her efforts to help those in recovery learn how to share their stories with others. 

By a show of hands, a large percentage of this year’s attendees are first-timers, another hopeful sign that interest in the recovery movement is growing. 

As usual, there are more workshops than can be attended by one person so my view of the conference is limited to what I was able to attend. But, so far it is living up to its promise to represent a wide variety of approaches. 

I attended a workshop on Medication Assisted Recovery (MAR) which drove home the important message that medication “must only ‘assist’ recovery and cannot ‘replace’ the work of recovery.” 

In the afternoon session attendees were briefed on In the Rooms, a “global recovery community” which provides the infrastructure and technical services to establish and support online recovery rooms. According to one of its founders, a wide diversity of rooms have been established with broad participation and sometimes remarkably personal interactions between participants. 

I also saw several people speak about their recovery journeys — each story was unique but with common threads: the power of connection, the importance of decision and the possibility of life without drugs or alcohol. 

And that was just the first day. It was a great start to an important conference aimed at celebrating the value — and clear results — of multiple pathways of recovery.