Robert Ashford, BSW is a man in long-term recovery who advocates for recovery, behavioral health policy, criminal justice reform, and many other social justice issues. He holds a BSW from the University of North Texas, and is currently at University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice to complete an MSW program. He is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, Renew Magazine, Addiction Unscripted, and the Hazelden Betty Ford Institute for Recovery Advocacy. He is also the founder of the multi-author advocacy platform, Rights for Recovery.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Brooke openly identifies as a member of the LGBTQ+ communities and a person in long-term recovery from a substance use disorder. What this means for Brooke is that she has not used alcohol or other drugs for over 11 years and, in turn, has been able to stop the intergenerational transmission of addiction that claimed her own mother’s life at a young age.
Austin in the Associate Director of the Center for Young Adult Addiction and Recovery at Kennesaw State University, where he conducts recovery-informed research on recovery and recovery systems involved in the continuum of care. He is also a product of collegiate recovery, and a first generation collegiate recovery professional.
An authority on body dysmorphic disorder, male eating disorders and addiction(including steroids), Brian Cuban is the author of the best-selling book, Shattered Image: My Triumph Over Body Dysmorphic Disorder. It chronicles his first-hand experiences living with, and recovering from, twenty-seven years of eating disorders, alcoholism, drug addiction and Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). Cuban has appeared on prestigious talks shows such as the Katie Couric Show as well as numerous media outlets around the country.
Christina is a Yankee transplant, ardent bibliophile and news hound living in the South. She's a daughter, sister and wife, and staunch supporter of women in the rooms and everywhere else. She is also an atheist living in long-term recovery, which for her means working a 12-step program that takes her closer to the good orderly direction the universe hands out every day and reintroduces her to parts of herself she thought she'd never see again. She's also learning to deal with the limitations - and gifts - of physical and mental health diagnoses that remind her that life requires much frustrated shaking of the fists, a sense of humor, a thick skin and sugar, so much sugar.
Christy joins the team from Lansing, Michigan where she is in a MPH program through Benedictine University with a certificate in Epidemiology. She has founded a non-profit organization with family, and hopes to make a positive impact on the world around her!
Cortney Lovell works to empower others to discover the depths of their potential. She is a wife, mother, and a driven leader in sustained recovery. The Director and Founder of WRise, LLC, Cortney offers consulting services with expertise specializing in addiction, mental health, wellness and recovery. Prior to starting her business, Cortney worked with Friends of Recovery – New York as the Director of Recovery Education and Training. She volunteered with Young People in Recovery before working as the organization's national Chapter Director. Cortney also proudly served as a Prevention Specialist for Accenture Federal Services and spent several years as a substance use counselor in New York. Cortney has been a spokesperson for the New York State Governor's Combat Heroin Campaign. She also is a "Youth Voice" on youth.gov and has been featured on "Inside Addiction" and in the documentary “Everywhere but Safe."
Learn more: www.wriseconsulting.com
Jayne started her recovery advocacy career at Santa Maria Hostel in Houston, TX. She was the Government Affairs Consultant for the advocacy efforts with peer recovery coaches while finishing up my bachelor’s degree at Texas Tech University. During that time, Jayne began intensively doing research and writing on topics that focused on recovery, history, and the laws of Texas.
Person in long-term recovery, who has passionate about criminal justice and recovery policy reform. Currently in Law School at Ole Miss, working on policy reform for recovery in the Deep South. Blessed and Grateful.
Matthew Braun is 26 years old and has been in long-term recovery since 2009. Early in his recovery, he began sharing his experiences in schools with the goal of helping adolescents steer clear of drugs and alcohol and become better equipped to navigate the challenges of growing up. In 2014, he joined the Young People in Recovery (YPR) movement as a founding member of YPR-Maine (Portland), and he currently leads a chapter in Biddeford. Matthew works in the behavioral health field, passionately trying to expand the reach of prevention and recovery services throughout Maine. He serves on multiple state and local task forces including the Maine Substance Abuse Services Commission. Prior to entering this field, he worked as a researcher in a toxicology lab while receiving his B.S. in human biology from the University of Southern Maine. Occasionally, he still engages in deep scientific conversations, causing him to think about going back to school for medical or graduate studies. He knows that people in recovery have a lot to offer and believes they make the world a better place because they recover.
Born and raised in Denver, CO, Michael began has journey to recovery in 2013 following a ten year struggle with severe substance use disorder, incarceration and homelessness. It was then that Michael realized he was capable of becoming a better man, son, friend and member of the community. His struggles with the condition did not end there, but he learned about himself and his relationship with the world to ultimately enjoy living life the way it was. Today he has a family, a home, a career and is able to serve his community. Michael currently serves as Communications & Chapter Coordinator at Young People in Recovery and is pursuing a BA in political science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
David (R.J.) Vied, a Delaware native now resides in South Florida with his beautiful wife and children. R.j. is a person in long term recovery no longer living with a hopeless state of mind. As a Director of PR at Amethyst Recovery Center and advisory board member for the Recovery Residence Administrator appointed by the Florida Certification Board he spends his time advocating for those in recovery. Today R.J. shares his story across the country in hopes to help families better understand substance use disorders and the reality of recovery. He lives by his favorite quote by Mark Twain, " The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why."
Tim Rabolt is a current graduate student at The George Washington University (GW) in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development. He's been in recovery from his mental and substance use disorder since spring of 2011, during his senior year of high school. During his freshman year at GW, he was a founding member of the GW Students for Recovery (SFR), a support service for students with mental or substance use disorders. He's interned with the Washington Wizards, Washington Nationals, Athletes for Hope, and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. He serves on the board of the Association of Recovery in Higher Education and The Chris Atwood Foundation. He blogs for Huffington Post, is an avid fantasy sports fan, and enjoys traveling the country advocating for collegiate recovery. He's currently working as a Project Coordinator for Altarum Institute in Rockville, MD.