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Celebrate Those In Recovery
by Cristy Allyn Willer


September 23, 2004

Dear Editor:

September is National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month. It is a fitting time to congratulate anyone you know who has struggled with and overcome alcoholism or addiction.

You may not be able to find a person in recovery to celebrate, however. They don't stand out from the crowd very much. They blend into your neighborhood, sit in the next cubicle, share your pew. They borrow your books in Math class.

By being in recovery, they are saving you a great deal of money, for emergency medical care or police action, among other things(1). They are not behind the wheel of a car, groggily waiting to hit the accelerator as you cross the street(2). They are not robbing your home to support their habit(3), nor lighting your house afire(4).

People in recovery come from any walk of life. Statistically, there is a very good chance that you have someone like this in your circle of friends. Please join us at the Department of Health and Social Services Division of Behavioral Health in raising an (alcohol-free) toast to each and every one of them.

Cristy Allyn Willer
Deputy Director, Division of Behavioral Health
Alaska Department of Health and Social Services



1. The state of Alaska pays $614 million annually to offset the damage done by alcoholism and addiction. (The Economic Costs of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse in Alaska, Phase Two, The Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, Department of Health and Social Services, November 2001.

2. 1,058 traffic crashes in 1999 were attributed to alcohol and other drug abuse.

3. 32,360 Alaska residents were victims of alcohol and drug abuse-related crime in 1999.

4. During a five-year period, alcohol was involved in 48% of fire fatalities and more than $5 million in property loss. (Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse presentation, September 2004.)



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