Artists Create Greeting Cards to Gift Recoverers, Loved Ones for Colorado’s Anti-Stigma Campaign – Greeley Tribune

A greeting card is a way to share heartfelt feelings for loved ones, illustrating how a simple gesture can help convey a complicated message.

A card can even convey complicated messages of support and love for or from someone in recovery from addiction. Therefore, this card can be a step towards reducing the stigma around substance use.

The Colorado Office of Behavioral Health just celebrated the second anniversary of its association with The Recovery Cards Project, an effort supporting the Lift The Label substance use disorder anti-stigma campaign.

The Recovery Cards Project is providing six free greeting cards to people in recovery or their loved ones across the country to celebrate, encourage and support them.

The greeting cards are designed by talented artists in addiction recovery, according to Lindsay Sandoval, media manager for Colorado OBH.

The Anti-Stigma Campaign’s Recovery Project grew out of the idea that when a person is in recovery, people within their support system may struggle to find the right words to say, be afraid to say the wrong thing or being afraid of offending people with their message,” Sandoval said.

“It was really about getting people who are recovering or have loved ones recovering to write cards for recovering Coloradans, and kind of… find the words that people might not have” , Sandoval said. “And it’s really powerful to have people in recovery actually designing these maps. So I think that authenticity, that vulnerability is really key to the campaign…because we’re asking people to draw on their experiences experienced in real life.

A total of 55,000 cards were distributed across the country, according to Sandoval. This year’s project has 14 cards, six of them in Spanish, and a new lineup with 11 artists.

One of the local star performers is Sam Bourdon, a harm reduction and public health advocate based in northern Colorado.

In addition to her behavioral health background, Bourdon has faced her own recovery journey with a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder.

Art is one thing that has helped Bourdon through his personal experiences on the road to recovery. A love for art in her childhood became a source of self-care later in life, she said, and that’s why this project interested her.

Drawing, reading and painting were methods that helped her leave behind her “swirling thoughts” while gaining insight into what she was going through with addiction, according to the artist.

This map project addresses the difficult conversations and lack of language surrounding addiction through stories of artists, like Bourdon, who have experienced the struggles on the road to recovery.

“So when you look at these cards or you look at the art created by people who have struggled, you can really feel that kind of visceral part of their experience that you might not be able to get from them telling their story directly.” Bourdon said. “It may make a lot more sense to process that experience through art, poetry, music.

“It’s been a really empowering experience to meet people who use substances, who are in recovery, and see how they kind of bring that strength, that hope, that tragedy, and that heartache into something really beautiful and connected. “

Bumblebee’s greeting card shows a colorful individual holding another person who fades into a gray background that says, “Thank you for not letting me disappear.

Her support system helped her believe she was loved and appreciated during a difficult time in her life, but it was hard to find words of gratitude when she had a million things to say in return. according to Budon.

The beautifully designed greeting card tells her story about her recovery process and how those eight words were what she wanted to say to all the loved ones who supported her along the way.

Those who struggle with addiction face feelings of unworthiness. Without these words of encouragement, those using or recovering may lose sight of the wonderful qualities they offer the world, Boudon said.

“Because when you have a substance use disorder, you start to feel like that’s all you are,” she said. “And that’s a lot of what the culture reinforces is that you’re no longer a friend, a sister, a daughter, an artist. You’re an addict, and that loss of self is a huge obstacle for see a future that does not involve dependency.

Along with feeling unworthy, substance use disorder generates feelings of isolation and leads to a life of silence and secrecy.

Because people often don’t know how to reach out and the complex emotions involved in addiction, it leads to a deadly or devastating impact of people not opening up about their struggles and creating a culture of silence, according to Boudon.

In her case, coming from a family of people struggling with drug addiction, it became easier not to talk about what she was dealing with. She said the issue creates a stigma that keeps people from seeking help and prolongs struggles with addiction.

“So it’s been important for me in my own work now, to make sure whether or not someone is in recovery, wants to be in recovery, or is just using substances…everyone has the ability to access to dignity, community and the resources that support their own self-realization.

There are many anti-stigma campaigns and efforts, but Boudon said she appreciates the Recovery Cards project for “humanizing the conversation” through inclusion of those who have lived through addiction and those who are close to people struggling with addiction.

“So to be able to hear those kinds of thoughts and feelings and see the art of people who have been directly affected, I think it reminds us that people are people and they deserve love. , regardless of their state of recovery or the circumstances.’re in,” she said.

The campaign’s focus on lived experiences highlights that people can and do recover, Sandoval said. She said she was hopeful, especially since more Coloradans are in recovery than in active addiction.

“This campaign is just an amazing way to, once again, turn that isolation, that pain, and that grief into something beautiful and inspiring,” Sandoval said. “And we’re really honored to have artists like Sam participating and really leading this work.”

In addition to distributing cards to recovering individuals or their loved ones, card configurations are available for providers across the state, making cards more accessible to those who need them, Sandoval said.

“So I just want to express through this card how grateful I am that, you know, people really held on,” she said. “They really fought for me, and they remind me every day that it’s not something I shouldn’t be ashamed of. It’s something that makes me a richer human being and more capable of being empathetic and loving.

For more information about the Recovery Cards Project and the artists, or to purchase greeting cards, visit recoverycardsproject.com.

Mika R. Pyle