Every year, the Colombo Plan Drug Advisory Programme marks the celebration of the accomplishments of recovering substance abusers worldwide by organising the Asian Recovery Symposia. The challenges and frustrations faced by recovering persons on the road to recovery have often gone unnoticed by the general public. Their struggles in determining what recovery means for them, what life after treatment means, the uphill struggle of combating their health altering habit through treatment, and re-integrating themselves back into society are major accomplishments to be acknowledged.
The Asian Recovery Symposium serves to provide a platform in communicating the message that treatment works. It will provide recovering persons with an opportunity to share their stories of success and for concerned others/co-dependents to learn about the facts on treatment and recovery and their importance in the recovery process.
The symposium highlights the actions taken in the treatment field in Asia and the Pacific to encourage more people to seek treatment and to educate the general public about addiction and their role in communicating the message that treatment and recovery are within everyone’s reach.
Since the inception of the Asian Recovery Symposium in Pattaya, Thailand, back in 2004, the Asian Recovery Symposia have drawn many recovering people and their codependents from member countries in the Asia Pacific region to be part of the network. The Second Asian Recovery Symposium was held at Sri Lanka in 2005, 3rd in Philippine 2008, 4th was held in Kuala Lumpur in 2009 and the 5th was held in Indonesia in 2010.
The objectives of the Asian Recovery Symposia are to promote the societal benefits of addiction treatment, laud the contributions of treatment providers and promote the message that recovery from substance abuse disorders in all its forms is possible. It is also to celebrate people in recovery who have overcome stigma, denial, and other barriers to treatment and as a result are leading healthy and productive lives in recovery. The Symposia would also educate the concerned family members or codependents on family therapy that they must travel the recovery journeys together with their loved ones to achieve sobriety.
This symposia helps to eradicate the stigma of addiction from the society and also share the success stories of many fully recovered persons that often go unnoticed by their communities. Special workshop sessions relating to development of family support groups, life skills enhancement and relapse prevention are conducted by CPDAP resource persons for the benefit of all participants in the symposia.
The last Asian Recovery Symposium was held at Jakarta, Indonesia from 6 to 8 December 2010 with its theme: “Recovery: Back to Basics”. A total of 253 participants comprising recovering persons, family members, service providers, counsellors and policy makers from 16 member countries unanimously evaluated the symposium as one of the best attended and most effective programme in the Recovery scenario.