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An unconventional presence at the parties' political events

August 29, 2012
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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 High-profile organizations in the addiction treatment and recovery communities have joined forces to offer recovery resources and meeting space to delegates and others attending the major parties’ political conventions over the next two weeks.

The “Recovery Wellness Rooms” at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., and the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., have an identical purpose of offering daily scheduled 12-Step meetings, the chance to connect with others in recovery, and opportunities to enjoy refreshments and quiet space away from the convention hubbub.

“The hectic pace, stress and ubiquitous presence of alcohol at a national political convention can pose particular challenges to individuals in recovery,” Faces & Voices of Recovery executive director Pat Taylor said in announcing the availability of the Recovery Wellness Room this week in Tampa.

The participating sponsors said this week that the Recovery Wellness Room at the Republican convention represented a first-of-its-kind presence designed for the recovery community. Besides Faces & Voices, some of the other organizations involved in establishing this service are the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM); NAADAC, The Association for Addiction Professionals; the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP);  State Associations of Addiction Services (SAAS); and Caron Treatment Centers. Individuals from the various sponsoring organizations are staffing the rooms.

Of course, it would not be a national political season without differences between the two major political parties, and this divergence plays out to a degree with the Recovery Wellness Rooms as well. Whereas the venue at the Republican convention requires a walk across a bridge from the Convention Center and then another three blocks down, the Recovery Wellness Room at the Democratic convention next week will be located in Room 214 of the Convention Center.

Three 12-Step meetings were scheduled this Tuesday and Wednesday at the Republican convention. Taylor says the Recovery Wellness Room originally was scheduled to be open on Monday as well, but did not open because of the threat posed by Hurricane Isaac and the resulting cancellation of convention events that day.

Taylor says that because this week’s location is off-site, organizers have been publicizing its availability through the various state delegations at the convention.

In addition to the similar events and resources available in Charlotte next week, the recovery community’s presence at the Democratic convention will include a Sept. 4 afternoon recovery caucus meeting featuring speakers such as former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy.