Recovery Reinvented 2019 focus on building recovery supports

Statewide event focuses on building recovery supports

Submitted Photo Gov. Doug Burgum and First Lady Kathryn Helgaas Burgum address the audience at a previous Recovery Reinvented event.


Senior Staff Writer


BISMARCK – An Olympic Gold medalist and a college president will be among those sharing their addiction recovery stories at Recovery Reinvented 2019 next Tuesday in Bismarck.

This year’s statewide event continues the focus on eliminating the stigma of addiction but also will promote the building of recovery supports, said North Dakota First Lady Kathryn Helgaas Burgum.

She said Minot has been a leader in the state this past year in supporting recovery. She cited the work at Minot State University, which hosted a Recovery Reinvented panel discussion and began a weekly recovery group, and the efforts of the Mayor’s Committee on Addiction in forming a recovery community organization.

“So there’s a lot of great work happening in Minot,” she said.

Recovery Reinvented is looking to build recovery support both in communities and in the corporate arena.

“Over 25 million people have the disease of addiction and 70% of them are employed full time,” Burgum said. “We’re just asking corporations to start building a culture where they talk about addiction and recovery, whether it’s posters on the back of the bathroom door or something in the lunchroom or they have a lunch and learn so people can learn more about addiction.”

As examples, she cited a North Dakota business that gives up to 30 days paid time off to employees if they need to seek behavioral health treatment. Another business created a designated nonalcohol area at an annual event for employee families that typically includes alcohol.

Gary Mendell, founder and CEO of Shatterproof, a national nonprofit focused on reversing the course of the addiction crisis in America, will speak at Recovery Reinvented 2019 on building recovery support in the corporate world.

Carol McDaid, principal of Capitol Decisions Inc. in Washington, D.C., is herself in recovery and will speak about her advocacy and experience in starting a sober living community.

Also speaking will be Russ McDonald, the president United Tribes Technical College, Bismarck, and Olympic medalist and volleyball coach Riley Salmon of Jamestown.

McDonald went to treatment multiple times before attaining sobriety 25 years ago. Salmon, who coaches at the University of Jamestown, had taken a 10-year dive into addiction and sold his 2008 Olympic Gold medal in men’s volleyball for drug money. Once sober, he looked for a coaching position, and the University of Jamestown gave him the opportunity. Now sought-after by other universities, Salmon is active in the recovery community in Jamestown.

More than 1,200 people have already registered for Recovery Reinvented 2019, Burgum said. Pre-registration is required and can be accomplished by going to recoveryreinvented.com or Facebook at RecoveryND. People also can get news about the event at RecoveryND on Twitter.

The event, including lunch, is free.

In an effort to feature the faces and voices of people impacted by addiction, people were asked to send selfie videos to be played throughout the day of the event.

“Everyone has the opportunity to eliminate the stigma of addiction just by talking about it. Having the opportunity to play these videos all day long will just get us farther down the road to helping to eliminate stigma,” Burgum said.

Since last year’s event, Burgum said, more people are talking about addiction and recovery. Another highlight of the year was MHA Nation’s opening of a recovery community organization in New Town called The Door, where people can get help from peer support specialists.

“Fifty percent of our state is rural. We’re never going to have the services that we need in our small towns and small communities. So one way to reach people that need support and help with recovery is to have more people trained as peer support specialists,” Burgum said. “These people can actually get reimbursement now. That was approved in the last legislative session through Medicaid.”

The North Dakota Department of Human Services reports 314 people have trained as peer support specialists over the past year and half.

The YES Challenge launched at last year’s Recovery Reinvented also was successful, Burgum said. Seeking to capture the energy and advocacy of the young people in the state, the YES Challenge asked schools to come up with ideas to eliminate stigma related to behavioral health. Seventeen schools took the challenge and received $1,000 to implement their plans.

A video created at Grand Forks Central was so impactful that the state forwarded it to the federal level, and many programs implemented by the schools are ongoing, Burgum said.


Recovery Reinvented 2019

Tuesday, Nov. 12

8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Bismarck Event Center