Who we are

Founded in January 2000, the Long Island Recovery Association is a grassroots organization of people concerned about the rights of those in recovery from or seeking help for addiction related illnesses.

Our Mission
Through education and advocacy, we aimed to eliminate the stigma around addiction, achieve genuine parity and treatment on demand for those seeking help to ensure that a compassionate, well-informed understanding of the nature of addiction becomes the norm not the exception among legislators, institutions, family members and society in general.
Addiction is a public health issue, the evolving science behind addiction is finally driving a system change away from a cruel and failed criminal justice focus to a healthcare approach.
 
LIRA predates the national “Faces and Voices of Recovery” movement and was built on the premise that the recovering community is frequently overlooked and often discounted in matters of public interest because the group has remained mostly invisible to the public eye.
This invisibility has long been attributed in large part to the erroneous belief that members of 12 step programs cannot advocate publicly.  In fact after the release of the Anonymous People film in 2013 the General Service Office of Alcoholics Anonymous released a statement referencing their very own     literature clarifying that should they decide to do so, members could talk openly in public about their recovery and advocate as long as they did not identify themselves as a member of the group.  We are hopeful that this clarifying statement will compel many of our friends in communities across America to join us we continue to emerge as a constituency of consequence.
 
Based on a recent survey (2012) It is estimated that at least 250,000 people are living in sustained recovery here on Long Island. LIRA provides a face and a potent voice to a rather large recovery constituency on Long Island.
 
In addition to individuals in recovery, the membership of LIRA includes family members, political figures, teachers, healthcare and treatment professionals, retired citizens, civil servants, business owners, white- and blue-collar workers, and those interested in a better society in general.
At the core of LIRA is a group of passionate, dedicated individuals, leading the drive for equality and a voice on the public policy front.
“Those of us who work in the field of addictions know that treatment alone is not enough; recovery services must be in place for individuals to succeed…” — New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Arlene Gonzalez-Sanchez.

LIRA IN ACTION
  • LIRA is a well-respected recovery community organization that has developed key relationships with government agencies, treatment providers, legal authorities, the business and religious communities and the public at large.
  • LIRA was the major force behind passage of the family treatment bill in New York in Dec. 2000 allowing family members of an impacted person to access counseling services even if the affected loved one was not currently in treatment themselves.
  • LIRA was one of 26 organizational members of the Timothy’s Law Campaign and helped pass this important legislation, recruiting >50 organizational supporters to sign on in support.
  • LIRA was a major driving force in the effort to clean-up the sober home industry working closely with other groups and leading the housing team as a member organization under the LICAN umbrella. Our efforts lead to to the shuttering of two large provider groups who were fined several million dollars and eventually shut down by OASAS and resulted in a $26.6 million award specifically to Long Island to add 100 community residence beds.
  • LIRA donated funds supported the launch Friends and Voices Westchester (FAVOR WEST).
  • LIRA contributed funds and in kind services to help create, incorporate and then filed the IRS application to secure the not for profit status of Friends of Recovery New York (FOR-NY).
  • LIRA hosts an annual National Recovery Month event each fall with community partners.
  • LIRA has presented 11 Scholarship awards (to date) at our annual Rock N Recovery events totaling $7,500. These awards to individuals in recovery and family members have helped to meet personal needs and support the educational goals of our constituency
  • For three consecutive years (2005-07) a LIRA member was named Advocate of the Year by the Association for Addiction Professionals of New York.
  • LIRA members served on the initial planning and steering committees in the development and creation of the Families In Support of Treatment (FIST) forums.
  • LIRA was recognized as Agency of the Year at The Pederson Krag 50th Anniversary Gala
  • LIRA was nominated as Agency of The Year by by NASW Nassau County chapter
  • LIRA spearheaded the federal parity movement in NY bringing together over 20 stakeholders representing 15 organizations from across NY State
  • LIRA was part of the behavioral healthcare Medicaid redesign team with the NY State Dept of Health ensuring that addiction and recovery services were included in the approved coverages.
  • LIRA worked with national and state groups to ensure that addiction related services were included in the essential health benefits established with the creation of the NY State Health Exchange in conjunction with the Affordable Care Act
  • LIRA was a key negotiator and front line force in the effort to address insurance injustices and treatment needs which led to the Governor signing 11 bills into law in 2014.
  • LIRA is a founding member of Friends of Recovery New York and sponsors buses every year to the statewide Recovery Advocacy Day!
  • LIRA members serve on many advisory boards, state and local task forces and other groups .
  • LIRA has recruited dozens of local, state and federal law-makers and other officials to co-sponsor and support important legislation and initiatives.
  • LIRA is a charter member of the Association of Recovery Community Organizations (ARCO) an initiative of Faces & Voices of Recovery
  • LIRA was an original member of the NY State OASAS Recovery Implementation Team RIT
  • LIRA hosted the first ever New York State recovery focus group in conjunction with OASAS leading to the identification of areas of need in our communities
  • LIRA members helped plan and organize the first ever Statewide Recovery Conference
  • LIRA hosted the first ever NY State screening of The Anonymous People documentary film and 15 other screenings on LI and across NY State
  • LIRA is a founding partner in the annual Long Island United Walk for Hope and Recovery
  • LIRA has conducted two recovery needs surveys for Long Island detailing the real time needs of individuals in recovery and their family members
  • LIRA was a partnering organization and sponsored a bus to the UNITE TO FACE ADDICTION event in Washington DC in October 2015.
  • LIRA was a potent voice and vocal partner contributing to the landmark legislative initiatives enacted into law in June 2016. These new laws include an end to discriminatory practices that have long denied access to inpatient rehabilitation, ensuring timely admissions to inpatient treatment and guarantees a minimum of 14 days treatment before insurers can begin the utilization review process.
  • LIRA in conjunction with FOR-NY spearheaded the budget request campaign which led directly to significant increases in OASAS funding the past 2 years and in turn OASAS directed funds into those specific areas of needed recovery support that we identified. i.e. recovery centers, RCO’s, peers and recovery coaches.
  • LIRA initiated a collaborative effort to apply for a grant to open a recovery center inviting FIST, LICADD and FCA to the table.  This effort led to a grant submission under the FCA umbrealla. Our efforts were rewarded when the application was approved by NYS OASAS. Together we opened THRIVE in Islandia on March 4, 2017. The first ever recovery center on Long Island! Now that’s working together!
  • LIRA joined with fellow LICAN member organizations to host an Opate Action event at St Anthony’ s High School on April 26, 2017. Am overflow crowd of 1300 packed the gym as we launched the 6 month campaign.