The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday March 1st

Letter: One step at a time

Carolina Recovery Program is a collection of UNC students, alumni, faculty and local young people who have a history of substance use disorder. They come together to provide support for each other as they navigate their individual recoveries. Their group also seeks to educate the UNC community about substance use disorder, including identification and stigma reduction. Every September, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration sponsors Recovery Month to increase awareness and understanding of mental and substance use disorders and celebrate the people who recover.

As a way to keep their group functioning at its current capacity, they are holding a fundraising “Run for Recovery” on Oct. 5, which will take place on UNC’s campus. You can sign up for the run or donate to the group on their website.

To the editor,

My name is Drew, and I am a person in long-term recovery. Almost two years ago on my first full day living in Chapel Hill I went to a Carolina Recovery Community (CRC) meeting and immediately was embraced with love, acceptance and support. Quickly this group became a very important aspect of my life. I am so grateful this group exists to provide a space on campus where I am encouraged to be myself and surrounded with young, like-minded people all striving to grow and be better individuals one day at a time. 

As I continued to grow in my recovery — spiritual, mental, physical (in that order) I began to run. I started off slow running less than a mile at a time. Within five months, I ran my first half marathon and four months later a full marathon. Physical exercise became a vital part of my recovery. I grew up playing sports, and as my substance use disorder progressed, my physical activity declined. 

Paired with a program of recovery, running allows me to tap back into that core source of energy and physical/mental release. Immediately I wanted share this experience with others. I am a founding member of the UNC-Chapel Hill Recovery Run Club, and this group allows me to build a bond with people and open up about things I may normally not talk about. 

This led to the idea of hosting a 5k run to help break the stigma around substance use disorder and raise money so CRC can continue to exist in the capacity it currently does. Everyone knows someone touched in some way or another by substance use disorder. The goal of this run is to let the Chapel Hill community know CRC exists, we are a community of ordinary people and we are here for you all! 

My hope is that this race will not only spread the word about our wonderful group on campus at UNC, but will allow people to see us as we are ⁠— students of medicine, engineering, law, social work, etc. ⁠— taking life one step (or stride) at a time, just like everyone else.

With love and gratitude, 

Drew

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