As the name implies, a recovery ally is someone who offers support to a person who has a substance use disorder.  A recovery ally is not career field or a paid position. It is a person who has taken the time to develop a solid understanding of how they can best support someone in recovery.  

A recovery ally can be a family member, a lay person, a friend, an employer, a health care provider, a teacher, or anyone else who has a relationship with someone who is struggling with a substance use disorder. It has been said that the opposite of addiction is connection. The more connected a person with a substance use disorder feels, the better their chances are of entering and remaining in recovery. However, you need to have more than just a desire to help—you need an understanding of what the person is going through. You need to know what might trigger the person’s craving, what words will cause them to doubt themselves and their ability to recover, when their most challenging times are, and what situations they might need to avoid.  

A recovery ally can be anyone who has a relationship with someone who is struggling with a substance use disorder.

Free Recovery Ally Training

Northwestern Prevention Collaborative is offering a free, virtual Recovery Ally training on January 26, 2022, from 1 pm to 4 pm. This training, developed at Virginia Commonwealth University, is designed to increase a community’s recovery capital, decrease stigma and grow intervention skills. It offers a basic overview of the science of addiction and addresses what an ally does. Other modules during the three-hour training may address topics such as:

  • Racial Justice and Recovery
  • Philosophies of Care & Pathways to Recovery
  • Families
  • Language

People with limited exposure to treatment or recovery will understand basics to supporting people struggling with substance use disorders. For professionals or people with lived experience, it will provide slides, tools and approaches that may be helpful with clients or family members. Because the training is conversation-driven, professionals can provide invaluable insight to other participants during the training. 

A recovery ally takes the time to understand how to be supportive in a positive manner.

This training will be led by Tom Bannard, CADC, MBA, the Program Coordinator for Rams in Recovery at Virginia Commonwealth University, and by Rev. Jan M. Brown, MA, CPRSS, the Founding/Executive Director of SpiritWorks Foundation Center for the Soul.  

To register for this free, online workshop, visit

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