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It is time for people in recovery to lead the way.
With the current opioid overdose death crisis, many elected officials who have no experience with mental illness, addiction and recovery are talking a lot about how they propose to address the crisis. The reality is, however, that nobody understands the issues or is more passionate about resolving them than those of us with personal lived experience. For too long, people in recovery have been begging elected officials to do more that just talk and to instead truly address the issues affecting people with mental health or substance use disorders. It is time we stop begging for solutions and instead be part of the solution. This is in part why I, as a person in recovery, have decided to run for a State Representative seat in my state of Pennsylvania.
As a person in recovery, I intimately understand many of the issues at hand and I am passionate about addressing them with more than short-sighted, quick-fix, uninformed and underfunded legislation. I understand that mental illness, addiction and recovery are not partisan issues but rather complex human conditions from which recovery is possible with access to resources, support and an ability to see one another’s common humanity. I recognize how stigma, oppression, discrimination and marginalization harm people struggling with mental health or substance use disorders more than anything. I know all too well the enormous difficulty individuals and families experience when trying to gain access to harm reduction, treatment and recovery support services in their communities. And I also know all too well the role that trauma plays in mental illness and addiction as a trauma survivor myself.
My personal recovery has afforded me the opportunity to show up as a son, a husband, a friend, a successful business owner and a contributing member of my community…and I want every person in my state, and across the country really, to have the same opportunities for wellness and recovery. Recovery shouldn’t be about luck, privilege, or having special access to resources and connections. Wellness and recovery should be available to all, and I am running for office to help make that possible.
Recovery taught me the importance of being in service, of paying it forward and giving back what I was given. I have been able to be in service within my recovery community and to the greater community in which I live. I’ve been able to be in service by putting my body on the line during protests locally and in Washington, DC as I’ve demanded we gain the resources we need. And now, I ask for your help in allowing me to be in service as an elected official so I can fight like nobody else will fight to help make wellness and recovery available to all. No matter where you are, you can help lift up the voice of recovery by financially supporting my campaign. It unfortunately takes a whole lot of money to win a campaign, and every little bit helps. Many of us have put dollars into baskets in the name of supporting recovery – we have to put dollars into getting some of us into office too.
It is time for people in recovery to lead the way. I hope you will help me do just that.
Mike Doyle for PA State Representative, 170th District