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The Missouri Recovery Network is an organization of recovering people, their families and professional counselors which advocates for fair treatment in the workplace, in the health system and other areas of society.

Because recovering alcohol and drug addicts face what they believe is discrimination in employment and health care, due to many in society still seeing addiction as a moral shortcoming instead of an illness that must be treated, the group wants to educate the public about addiction.

Jerry Mathis, project director for the organization, says the Missouri Recovery Network hopes to reduce the stigma attached to alcoholism and addiction through several educational avenues.

"We're going to mobilize the recovery community to come forward to tell their stories with the hope of reducing the stigma and offer hope for those people still suffering," he told the News-Press. "We want people to know that recovery is possible, (and) we’re trying to change the attitude that some people have about addiction."

"What I need the community to understand is the need to believe in addicts as well as employers helping them with flexible schedules around treatment and (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings," said Lisa Doyle, an addiction treatment services director. "There’s going to be a few who betray that trust, but for nine out of 10 it’s going to be worth that trust."

Alonzo Weston wrote an article, Stigma Hounds Recovering Addicts for the St. Joseph News-Press that outlines some of the steps the network is taking and features one network member's story.

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November 20, 2008 at 5:52 pm
(1) Jack R says:

As an alcoholic in recovery (24 plus yrs)and former Public Info rep for my AA District I know first -hand the impact of stigma.I am appalled at my fellow AA members who tremble at being “found out” they are in recovery.I long ago decided to adhere only to Tradition Eleven and use every opportunity to disclose my attendance at AA meetings. Some AA members avoid me in public so as not to be “guilty” by association as I am well known in the community as a recovering alcoholic-such is the power of ignorance, stigma and misinformation. I am at long last coming to the conclusion that those in recovery are going to have to ‘come out of the closet’, united in concert, and march in public on a given day (June 10th-?)through their respective communities proudly identifying themselves (T-shirts-placards,etc)as recoverving alcoholics. All major social minority groups have had to take measures to force the public to recognize their rights as human beings deserving of understanding and acceptance by the general public-Yes, here in America; Labor unions, emancipation of women,the right of minorities of color to vote,etc. The public is more than apathetic-they are comfortable in their self-righteous cocoons of insulation to an ‘underclass’ in society that they can continue to demean and look down on.It is becoming time to stand, shout “FREEDOM’, and march.

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