Each person who showed up sent the message that “Hey, a person who looks like me is affected by this, too!”

This morning, BOOM Creative sent me a video of the 2017 Pittsburgh Recovery Walk and I found it surprisingly touching.

Okay, I had a good cry.

Part of it was that I know how much work went into that event. It’s like when professional athletes win games, they cry because they know that the victory itself is just the tip of the iceberg; there’s so much work underneath. Times of doubt. Hassles.

But more than that, it was the faces of all those who came out that day. They embodied the ideas behind the Recovery Walk. Without those bodies, there was no walk.

The people who came out wore big old smiles. They brought tiny babies and jowly dogs. They were lots of different ages, different body types and skin colors, and I’m pretty sure they came from lots of different income brackets.

But you don’t have to take my word for it—watch the video.

They gathered together because they know the struggle of addiction. They gathered because they believe strongly in a path away from addiction and toward something else. That “something else,” we call “recovery,” which for many people means better health, better relationships, and a future with lots of possibilities.

Nearly 2,000 people got out of bed on a sunny Saturday morning and made their way downtown to the Pittsburgh Recovery Walk. It was a demonstration of how many people—and how many different kinds of people—feel a powerful connection to these issues. It conveyed that it’s time to talk about addiction and recovery, rather than pushing them under the rug. And it was an absolute avalanche of hope, the kind of hope we need right now in western Pennsylvania.

I am touched beyond words that so many people took their free time to come be part of the 2017 Pittsburgh Recovery Walk. Each person who showed up sent the message that “Hey, a person who looks like me is affected by this, too!”

“And I’m not just affected,” each person said, just by being there. “I care so much that I want to spend my Saturday in a too-big t-shirt, laughing, listening, and occupying the streets to celebrate this powerful idea called recovery.”

And gosh they look great, don’t they? (Watch the video!!)