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Save the Date! Thriving in Recovery Gala!


Save the Date! The “Thriving in Recovery” Gala will be held May 5th, 2016 at Normandy Farm in Bluebell, PA.

The Council of Southeast Pennsylvania, Inc. is grateful for 40 years servicing families and communities in this region.  We’ve made great strides, with national recognition for integrating cutting-edge, evidence-based programming in prevention, intervention and recovery, providing services impacting over 15,000 individuals annually.  As we operationalize our strategic plan for expansion of services throughout Bucks, Montgomery, Chester, Delaware counties and Philadelphia to reduce the impact of addiction throughout the region, we want to recognize and celebrate those thriving in recovery.  While addiction is a complex problem, 23 million Americans are living in long-term recovery.  We are asking you to invest in our work, our shared community, and a brighter future free from stigma, discrimination and barriers to healthy living.

For the past year, the Council has been capturing stories of individuals thriving in recovery from our community, across the spectrum of addiction and circumstance.  The message is undeniable: Addiction is costly, but there is hope; long-term recovery is possible and is a good investment.

It is with much excitement that on May , 5, 2016, The Council will host the “Thriving in Recovery” Gala.  It will evoke the celebratory atmosphere associated with this date in a recovery-rich environment.  We will celebrate the advances that have been made and will recommit to the work that still needs to be done – together.

Your support of the “Thriving in Recovery” capital campaign and gala will recognize the importance of community in preventing addition and sustaining recovery.

Stay tuned to learn how you can support this campaign.

25,000 Celebrate Recovery

0446795c-48c4-4851-ae32-39364102704aThe Council would like to thank the record breaking 25,000 people who walked in support of recovery. Individuals, families, elected officials, organizations, businesses and schools came to Penn’s Landing for the 14th Annual Recovery Walks! 2015.

You demonstrated that the Recovery Community is a constituency of consequence, that is willing to stand up to end stigma and be a voice for the 20 million still needing to access services to sustain long-term recovery.

Over 300 members of the Honor Guard, representing a total of 5,629 years in recovery, led the walk.

During the walk, education and advocacy activities included:

  • New voter registration
  • Family education booth
  • Petition to Pennsylvania lawmakers to pass a budget that includes $20 million for emergency treatment
  • Pennsylvania Commitment for Involvement in Healthcare Advocacy
  • Naloxone Education and Overdose Prevention Information Distribution

This year, we received more media attention than ever before!  There is power in numbers and our voices are being heard!  Plan to attend Recovery Walks! 2016 next September.

From 60 Days to Purple Sash

Written by Brooke Feldman

Honor Guard 5

As a 24-year-old with about 60 days drug-free and in the very infancy of my recovery journey, I looked around and studied the crowd gathering at Memorial Hall in Philly’s Fairmount Park.  The recovery house I was residing in mandated that all residents come to this thing called a “recovery walk” before going on our home passes.  To be brutally honest, many of us were just eager to get this mandatory event over with so we could move onto the main attraction of the day – our hard earned and highly coveted weekend passes that allowed us to get away from one another and the recovery house.

As I took the whole scene in, I was surprised by the large number of people gathered there.  I was most amazed by the individuals and families who did not appear to be in a mandated recovery house wolf-pack formation but instead present on their own accord.  I was astonished that these folks actually chose to spend their Saturday morning at this event.  Some people even brought their dogs with them, these adorable little puppies and big golden retrievers with recovery-oriented t-shirts wrapped around their four-legged frames.  As more and more people descended upon the area, I began to get the chills.  I didn’t realize that there were so many people in recovery!  As a man named Vincent Faust led the walkers in a “2005 PRO-ACT Recovery Walks! warmup”, we all hunkered in closer to one another and moved toward the stage.  I recall the electrifying energy being something unlike anything I’d ever felt.  To be part of a crowd of hundreds of people gathered in the name of recovery was indescribable.  To go on to walk side by side people just like me gave me unimaginable hope.  It gave me hope that this thing called recovery works.  It gave me hope that I could live the rest of my life without using alcohol and other drugs because these people were doing it.  It gave me hope that I was not alone.  Ultimately, this hope changed my life.

I returned to the Recovery Walks! the very next year, this time not as a recovery house resident but, instead, as an employee of that recovery house.  I explained to the residents who now griped about having to go to the event that they would be so glad they did.  I stood among them with tears in my eyes as I saw the look on many of their faces – that same look of awe I had the year before.  I also observed that the crowd had grown even larger than the year before, and again I felt that swelling of hope in my heart.  Lastly, I noticed that some people were walking around wearing purple sashes with numbers pinned to them, and I asked somebody what that was about.  “Oh, that’s for the Honor Gaurd.  Those purple sashes mean they have 10 or more years in recovery.”  I smiled and immediately thought to my 25-year-old self,with just over a year in recovery at this point, “Wow, 10 years?  That’s pretty cool.  I’m going to get one of those sashes one day.”

I returned to Recovery Walks! the next year, this time with a job so far beyond my wildest dreams.  I had gone on to work for PRO-ACT, and now I was at the walk as an employee of the very organization responsible for organizing the event.  The walk was, again, even bigger than the year before, and I got to be part of all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to make it happen.  I now played a part in creating the very same event that had so impacted my own recovery and my own life a few years before.

Year after year I’ve returned to Recovery Walks!, and year after year it has continued to grow and surpass the year before.  The walk has now grown from a few hundred people walking in the shadows of Fairmount Park to over 23,000 people clogging the streets of my city’s center.  I’ve gotten to watch though gratitude tear-filled eyes as that magnificent mass of people gathers in solidarity to show that recovery is possible. I have continued to be blown away by the magnitude of the recovery community and its allies.  And yes, year after year, I’ve continued to eye up those purple sashes rocked by the Honor Guard and whisper to myself  “I’m going to get one of those sashes one day.”

That ‘one day’ has come.

This year, my 10th year of long-term sustained recovery, I will be walking with the Honor Guard in the PRO-ACT Recovery Walks! for the first time.  I will be walking evidence that long-term recovery is possible.  I will be graced with experiencing what it is like to be part of the group leading over 23,000 people through the streets of Philadelphia as we aim to reduce stigma, end discrimination, increase awareness and expand access to prevention, treatment and recovery support services.

As I anticipate lifting that long desired purple sash up over my head and across my chest, I can still see that 24-year-old version of myself.  I can still see that young person with 60 days drug-free who didn’t know if recovery worked, who didn’t know if life was going to be worth living, who didn’t know that there were millions and millions of people just like her.  I still see that 24-year-old version of myself in my mind’s eye and I smile as I think, “Wow.  We got that purple sash after-all.  Now let’s make sure other’s have an opportunity to get their sash too.”


Learn more about Recovery Walks!, register, start a team and begin fundraising today by visiting

Step Out of the Shadows

As I stared through watery eyes at pictures of a rainbow-splattered White House recently, I was moved like never before by the magnificent power contained in a critical mass courageously stepping out of the shadows.

I thought of all the small acts of bravery that many individuals performed and considered the immense personal risks that many individuals took. I thought about the ridicule some faced and about others who lost their jobs, found themselves shunned by their families, misunderstood by their friends or judged by their communities. I marveled at how despite these significant challenges, many still stepped out of the shadows and boldly stood for their truth. The results of this boldness and authenticity are as clear as the red, yellow, green, purple and blue lights that illuminated the walls of the White House. Change happened, and quite literally, the light of the movement shined upon the heart of America’s democracy.

I then thought to myself, “What if?

What if another social issue near and dear to my heart were to be met with the same critical mass courageously stepping out of the shadows? What if this other group of individuals who have been stigmatized, discriminated against, and treated with far less than the equality they are promised in our Constitution were to so boldly step out of the shadows and into their truth?

What if the over 23 million Americans living in long-term recovery from addiction were to come out of the shadows and let the world know of their stories and their solutions?


What if over 23 million Americans and their families, friends, communities and allies stood as one and demanded equality?

But before I could answer, another gnawing question that has lingered with me came to mind:

How exactly has the LBGTQ+ equality movement been able to muster such momentum and achieve such significant gains, including widespread support from allies, businesses, legislators, religious leaders, higher education institutions and more? How did this happen and what do we, as the addiction recovery advocacy movement, have to learn here?

While the answer to this question is certainly complex, multi-faceted and systemic in nature, there is one thing that continues to jump out at me. Money—yes, it’s the M word. The LGBTQ+ equality movement has been able to secure financial support in a rather impressive fashion not only from members of the LBGTQ communities themselves but from their allies and supporters as well. This financial support serves as a catalyst for obtaining and sustaining access to the resources needed to carry out the cause.

With 350 people dying across America every single day from the treatable illness of substance use disorder, we cannot afford to roll along as slowly as we have. It is imperative that we put money into funding services and campaigns with the same ferocity and dedication that the LGBTQ+ equality movement has shown us. The time is NOW for the addiction recovery advocacy movement to finds ways to secure financial support from its own vast network of recovery communities, along with its allies and supporters.

One way you can act immediately is by registering to attend the PRO-ACT Recovery Walk ( on September 19th at Penn’s Landing and begin fundraising.  Whether as a sponsor; an individual, team member or team captain; or donor if you cannot attend; every dollar you contribute will help PRO-ACT ( to erase stigma, fight discrimination, increase awareness of the benefits of recovery, and provide support and resources to individuals and families working to achieve long-term recovery.

Step out of the shadows on September 19 with 23,000 other supporters of recovery and participate in the largest walk ever assembled in support of addiction recovery—PRO-ACT’s 14th annual Recovery Walk. Put a face and voice on recovery; show that recovery is possible; and honor those who have lost their lives.

Stepping out of the shadows takes courage. Recovery takes courage. But the LGBTQ+ equality movement has shown us just how much power we have to initiate change if we show courage by stepping out and speaking up.

Please join us on September 19th at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia by registering at

Brooke Feldman
Project Coordinator, Supporting Youth Recovery
The Council of Southeast Pennsylvania, Inc.


Join the Council Team!

Volunteer Celebration 2015

Volunteer Celebration 2015

As a recent addition to The Council of Southeast Pennsylvania, Inc., I can say that I have never had a more fulfilling position.  Each day, I feel honored to contribute my strengths and skills to an organization that truly makes a difference in the lives of so many members of my community.  The disease of addiction affects individuals, families and our community as a whole.  The Council is an open, warm environment full of compassion where members of staff and volunteers work together as a team with a focused mission.

The primary purpose of The Council is to provide resources and opportunities to reduce the impact of addiction, trauma, and other related health issues.

I am constantly amazed by the volunteers for The Council.   So many volunteers share in our mission and contribute their talents and time for the benefit of our community.  The Council recently hosted a Volunteer Appreciation event to honor those individuals who give so much of themselves to others.   This activity and the passion that went into planning it gave me a sense of pride to be a part of an organization that respects and appreciates its volunteers.

Currently, we are expanding our services and will welcome four new staff members at our main line location.  We are now accepting resumes for Recovery Support Project Coordinator, Certified Recovery Specialists, and a Part-Time Administrative Assistant.  Working for The Council is an opportunity to share life experience and expertise and to contribute to hope and healing for those whose lives have been affected by addiction.

For more information on our open positions, visit our employment page

 Melanie Boyd works as the Special Projects Administrator and Central Office Coordinator at The Council.  She joined The Council in December 2014.  Melanie supports several programs, marketing and training through The Council.  She holds a BS in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. 

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