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Over the last six sessions, A&E Network’s “Intervention” reality series has chronicled the lives of 138 men and women suffering with addiction.
On September 12, more than 10,000 people are expected to take part in the cable network’s 2009 Recovery Rally celebrating all people struggling with addiction and their battles to overcome substance abuse.
For the second year in a row, the iconic Brooklyn Bridge will serve as the symbolic “bridge to recovery.”
Recovering individuals, their friends, family and supporters will gather at Foley Square in Manhattan in advance of a march over the storied span culminating at Cadman Plaza with a free concert by legendary recording artist Smokey Robinson.
“We have over 100 buses coming in from six states,” said John Hartinger, vice-president of integrated marketing for A&E.
At last year’s event, thousands filled in blank cardboard placards declaring their personal recovery milestones.
Organizers printed thousands of the “In Recovery For...” signs and still didn’t have enough to go around.
Marchers were so numerous, in fact, that the Brooklyn Bridge had to be shut down for a time. But the reaction from many jaded New Yorkers was far from what you might expect, according to Hartinger.
“There was so much support from bystanders,” Hartinger said. “The crowd took us all by surprise. One of the things that we recognized is that the recovery movement has such latent support. People are ready to stand up and applaud people in recovery.”
That support, according to experts, is vital to those suffering with addiction.
Organizers of this year’s Recovery Rally say that their goal is to recognize the “very large and vibrant” recovery community.
“Whether we know it or not, there are millions of people in successful recovery,” Hartinger said.
Robinson, who reportedly suffered his own bout with substance abuse earlier in his stellar career, is expected to perform classic hits as well as songs from his new album called “Time Flies When You’re Having Fun.”
“The legendary Smokey Robinson has certainly earned his ‘honorary’ Brooklyn citizenship—he has performed four times at the summer concerts that I host—and I guarantee he will put on an incredible show, and it’s all for a great cause,” Borough President Marty Markowitz said.
Fewer than 10 percent of the 22 million Americans reportedly suffering with addiction in the United State ever receive treatment.
Experts say that’s partly because of the stigma too often associated with addiction.
Many recovery support groups like Phoenix House, located at 50 Jay Street, will be on hand at this year’s Recovery Rally to provide information about where to get help.
Of the 138 people profiled on “Intervention,” Hartinger says that 111 of them are currently enjoying sobriety.
A&E Network’s 2009 Recovery Rally will begin at Foley Square in Manhattan at 8:30 a.m. on September 12. Participants will then start the march across the Brooklyn Bridge at 9:30 a.m. Smokey Robinson’s concert at Cadman Plaza will start at 11:15 a.m.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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