John F. Kennedy once said, \”As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.\” As cliche it is to begin a blog post with a historical quote, this cliche is entirely warranted because of the weekend I just had. The 2017 ANAD Conference was an experience that I will hold with me for years to come. Professionally I was awestruck by the doctors, authors, advocates, and clinicians I was in the midst of and had the privilege of meeting. But it is the personal impact this weekend had on me that stood out and changed me invariably.

I was lucky enough to have presented at this year\’s conference and before we began our 90-minute seminar on the \’Stages of Change in Recovery\’, I got to sit down with some of the most genuine, strong-willed, and honest recovery superheroes I have ever met. Having spent most of the weekend on the Professionals Track, it was a welcomed change of pace to end my weekend amongst others in recovery; setting aside my counselor and graduate student hats, and settling into my most comforting roles as blog manager, advocate, and speaker.

These are just some of the comments about this past weekend that those in recovery were gracious enough to share with me and our blog- \”I love the recovery track part; being around the people who really understand.\” \”This was the best of all worlds; work, recovery, and friends!\” \”The connections… I found a therapist and potential dietitian.\” \”It made me see the light…this is is the best thing (for my recovery) I\’ve had since treatment.\” 

So back to our opening cliche about gratitude. I express it deeply with my words. To the colleagues, I shared this weekend with. To the experts, I learned from. And to those in recovery from whom I am inspired. And so may we remember to express our gratitude not only with our words but with our actions. My challenge to all that are reading this is as follows. Go out into the world and speak your truth. Smile a little harder. Give and receive a compliment. Give yourself a hug. Ask for help. Cry it out and carry on. For recovery gains life, not in our words, but in the breath of our movements.

With the greatest of all gratitude, humility, and support; thank you.

Sincerely, your ANAD Blog Manager, Megan Schomaker