The social stigma associated with addiction/alcoholism is regrettably still rather paramount! It often hinders those seeking recovery from ever attempting to find and get help. This same stigma is also present for those of us who have recovered, but often continue to feel the need to remain silent so that we are similarly not stereotyped! Therefore, many in recovery are still virtually invisible.
However, there over 23 million Americans living in long-term recovery in the United States alone! (Source: manyfaces1voice.org)
So when I meet people in recovery who are diligently working on breaking the stigma, I am automatically drawn to them! And I have recently had the pleasure of meeting Douglas Lail, who has founded the Hello My name Is Project, and is creating beautiful portraits of people in recovery. He is also hosting an open exhibit of his amazing work next month, and I am absolutely honored to be able to share this information, as well as one of his featured recovery stores with you!
Hello My Name Is…
Portraits & personal stories of people at varying stages of recovery from addiction.
SPECIAL ONE DAY PREVIEW SHOW
Saturday, February 28 • 2-5PM
Parish Hall • Cathedral of All Souls
9 Swan Street • Biltmore Village • Asheville, NC
Admission is FREE
Mission of Hello My Name Is…
The mission is to put faces with recovery, focusing on the positive aspects present in the lives of the people that are living in commitment to recovery. Often, recovery is shrouded in anonymity as many of us continue to live dual lives, afraid of the social stigma associated with addiction. Others simply cut themselves off and isolate from the world at large. I ask ~ Where is the freedom in this? When a human being is taken to the depths of darkness by addiction and recovers, there is a light that grows. My mission with this project is to paint the light that I see in the mirror as well as the light that I see in the people in recovery around me. We emerge out of the shadows eager to share this new-found hope with others like us. Hello My Name Is… offers a look at the faces of people that face their greatest fears and reunite with the world.
Why This Project
Addiction is often filled with shame and discrimination… Even in recovery many of us still struggle with these same issues. Having been in recovery since January 2013, I still experience difficulty at times being open and honest about it with people outside the recovery community. If we are only as sick as our secrets ~ why is recovery my biggest secret. How joyous, happy and free can I expect to be when harboring anything that I would not willingly tell another person. It is my hope that through the Hello My Name is… project that those that choose to, will find the strength and courage to step outside the rooms and break free from the lingering social stigma of addiction.
About Hello My Name Is…
If we are committed to recovery, what is it that we are recovering? My name is Douglas Lail and I plan to use my skills as a portrait artist to extract insight and wisdom from the people that are living the brave and powerful experiences that are unique to the path of recovery. I have recovered a deep, loving relationship with my partner and our families, a network of caring friends, the gift of gratitude, and the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream of becoming a full-time artist. It is through painting and collecting stories about some amazing people that I hope to reveal what others have recovered as well.
I attended my first recovery group meeting on March 26, 1979 in Washington, D.C. I didn’t really believe it would work _ or that anything would help me – but I was frightened of what was happening to me because of my addictions, and I had no other ideas. I don’t know exactly what I expected from the meeting. I was in a perpetual mental fog during the late stages of my active illness. I did feel welcome and a little hopeful. Mostly I was curious about how people like me could have made such apparently profound changes in their lives. It took a while for me to get serious about recovery. One of the things that made a deep impression on me was that I belonged to a large gay group in D.C. During the 1980s, AIDS was taking many of my friends, both recovering and non-recovering. I saw many of the men in recovery face the disease and their deaths with great inner strength and dignity. More than anything, their bravery convinced me that anything in this world can be faced within the framework of a spiritually-based life of recovery. It was a valuable teaching. In the years since my first meeting, I lost both my parents and my lover of 28 years. I survived major health crises. However, I also achieved some life goals that I could not imagine during active addition. My recovery sustains me and brings me joy. There is love in my life, and community, and a richness of experience that is only found in the present, one day at a time. I am very blessed.
You can connect with Douglas and see his amazing work for the Hello My Name Is Project here:
If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with alcohol addiction, please click the Find Support link for an extensive list of support groups. Also please check out the links to many useful resources in the sidebar, and always feel free to contact me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may also find some great inspiration and support from all the awesome sober bloggers listed in the side bar under POSTS I LIKE and RECOVERY BLOGGERS, as well as Sober Courage page on Facebook and Sober Courage on Twitter.