The Recovery Advocacy Movement in Japan


A movement is afoot that is seeking to put recovery in the wind so that it can penetrate even the most shadowed corners of the richest and poorest communities. The faces and voices of the individuals and families riding this wind are offering a simple but powerful testimony: We are the evidence that addiction recovery is both possible and sustainable. Hope and healing pushed the sickness and suffering out of our lives. We welcome you and will show you the paths that led to our deliverance. Recovery is in the wind. Its season has begun. (White, 2013)

Among the great joys of my life have been to see vibrant recovery advocacy movements rise across the world and to witness the growing relationships between people in recovery whose countries are divided by political, cultural, and religious differences. What these indigenous movements share are the desire to 1) convey hope to individuals, families, and communities affected by severe alcohol and other drug problems, 2) offer living proof of the reality and diversity of long-term recovery pathways, and 3) increase recovery support resources for affected individuals and families. One way to convey this mission at a public level is through recovery celebration events, including public recovery marches or parades.

Today's blog is a tribute to the growing legions of recovery advocates in Japan. During my 2007 lecture tour in Japan marking the Japanese translation of Slaying the Dragon, I had the opportunity to meet many people in recovery and to share with them the advocacy movements that were rising in North America and Europe. In the following years, recovery advocacy activities grew in numerous Japanese cities. In 2017, public recovery parades were held in many Japanese cities, including Tokyo, Hiroshima, Kitakyushu, Sendai, Okinawa, Kansai(Osaka), Yokohama, and Ibaraki.

Below are some of the images captured during these events. Recovery is alive and well, and recovery advocacy movements are rising and thriving throughout the world.

Hiroshima HiroshimaKansai KansaiSendai SendaiTokyo TokyoTokyo Tokyo

Acknowledgement: My thanks to Yuichiro Horiai from Yokohama, Japan for sharing the photos from which the above images were selected.