Last week, we got the chance to learn more about John Winslow, the founder of International Recovery Day. Today we’re going to explore the inspiration behind the holiday and learn what it’s all about.

ITR: What inspired you to create International Recovery Day?

JW: I had long pursued the idea of connecting the dots between recovering individuals, families and communities on a smaller scale. This included creating a “Recovery Wall” at Dri-Dock in which we hung T-shirts from various recovery organizations around the country on one of our walls – symbolizing to the newcomer that they were not alone, but part of a larger net of recovery supports.

The whole concept was based on the notion that “We can do together what none of us could do alone!”

I subscribe the inspiration for the vision of creating International Recovery Day to have come from three converging notions:

  1. Reading William (Bill) White’s “Recovery Rising.” Bill wrote “the effects of an online recovery support service increases in tandem with the number of members using such services, the effects of participating in a recovery celebration event increase in tandem with the number of people participating in such events, etc.”
  2. Reading a biography on Marty Mann “the first lady of Alcoholics
    Marty Mann. Courtesy of Origins Recovery Centers.

    Anonymous.” Marty Mann, under the tutelage of Bill Wilson (co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous) was a visionary who went on to found what eventually became known as the National Council on Alcoholism. She had big thoughts and wasn’t afraid to take a risk and put them into action.

  3. Hearing of the prophecy of the Spyder’s Web encompassing the globe from Don Coyhis – founder of the Native American recovery organization White Bison & the Wellbriety movement.

But ultimately, I attribute the idea as coming from my Higher Power/The Universe.

JW: In the United States today during Recovery Month (September), we have Recovery Events that vary by locations, dates and times that number in the hundreds, we have Recovery Rallies varying by locations, dates and times that number in the thousands, and we have Recovery Walks varying by locations, dates and times that may even number in the tens of thousands.

We also are now seeing pockets of Recovery-related celebrations popping up worldwide. But how could we possibly connect the dots? What thread could we use to bring everyone together at once? So many different addictions (Food, Gambling, Sex/Love, etc.), so many varying pathways (S.M.A.R.T, Celebrate Recovery, N.A., etc.) and so many countries!

I realized that an inclusionary historical online global event could transcend geography and time-zones, and bring together folks from all addictions, from all recovery pathways, from all around the globe all on the same day.

I realized that an inclusionary historical online global event could transcend geography and time-zones, and bring together folks from all addictions, from all recovery pathways, from all around the globe all on the same day, potentially engaging millions of recovering folks (including those with loved-ones in addiction, in recovery, and lost to addiction) demonstrating to the world that we can and do recovery. Thus, the concept of International Recovery Day was born!

Coupled with our September 30 free online event is our sister initiative: “Recovery Lights Around the World,” in which on the evening of Sept. 30, we light up our town halls, houses, bridges, and state capitols in purple lights.


Get updates on International Recovery Day by following their Facebook page. And looking for a way to kickstart your own recovery? Check out In The Rooms.

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