Are You A Recovery Role Model?

 By: Marilyn L. Davis

“I believe in recovery, and as a role model, I have the responsibility to let young people know that you can make a mistake and come back from it.” ― Ann Richards



A Role Models for All of Us

Ann Richards became the 45th governor of Texas. She appointed record numbers of women and minorities to state boards and agencies, and was a feminist role model. After her death in 2006, the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders opened in Austin, TX to continue her legacy.Richards also served on many boards of philanthropic, educational and public interest organizations.
But her political career eclipsed what Ms. Richards called “one of the great, great stories” of her life: her recovery from alcoholism and her nearly 26 years of sobriety.
Most of us are not going to run for political office. Although a thorough investigative look into my past might help me fill in the blanks and gaps, I’ll still pass.

When We Work With Others – What Do We Model?

But that doesn’t mean that you, me, and all others in recovery don’t act as a role model for others when we  mentor or sponsor. Taking someone by the hand when:
  • They’re scared or discouraged
  • Going through a rough patch
  • Just need to know someone cares
  • Have similar issues that we’ve solved

But it’s more than being compassionate to those we know from meetings. It’s when we are willing to let others know we are in recovery. Going public can seem scary, but I gave my first newspaper interview in 1990 when I opened the recovery home. 

As my mother said, “Well, no one had to read between the lines to know you are an addict and alcoholic, Marilyn.”  She wasn’t critical. She went on to tell me that she was proud of what I was doing with my life. She hoped that more people would understand and value people in recovery when I went public. Her perceptions of alcoholics and addicts changed as well. They were no longer ‘just people under the bridge’, but her daughter.    

Show Them Who We Are

In many ways, that’s still how addicts and alcoholics are still seen because so many of us choose to remain anonymous.  So we can’t blame society for not knowing that we’re hard-working, law-abiding, productive members of society when we don’t let them know we’re in recovery and be a role model for those in recovery and not. 

I know how public I was in my addiction and I frankly didn’t give a good damn who saw me, who I hurt, or who looked down upon me. My actions made me a role model for addiction. Slightly modifying that attitude has helped me be alright publicly with stating, “I am a recovering addict and an alcoholic, and I hope I model those behaviors, too.” 

What Will You Do Today to Model Recovery? 
Each day, there’s an opportunity to challenge the stigma of recovery by your actions. Your positive actions and behaviors will show them that “Recovery Works”.
So, what have you done today to model recovery?



Writing, and recovery heals the heart

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