By Michelle Colesanti

Messengers of Recovery Awareness (M.O.R.A.) is a new local organization devoted to reducing the stigma associated with substance abuse, and to influence public opinion and policy regarding the value of recovery.

On Thursday, October 30 at 6:30 p.m., An Evening of Recovery Awareness will take place at The Barn at Winthrop, located at 11349 Bloomingdale Ave. in Riverview. The program will feature the documentary The Anonymous People, an independent film about the 23 million Americans living in long-term recovery from alcohol and other drug addictions.

Individuals who struggle themselves or know someone who struggles with substance abuse, are invited to attend this program. All who attend will leave with powerful and positive messages about recovery, and an understanding that recovery flourishes in supportive communities.

After the documentary, guests can engage in a question and answer session with guest speaker John Shinholser, the president of the McShin Foundation, a non-profit Recovery Community Resource Foundation headquartered in Richmond, Va.

Shinholser, who is in long term recovery and has been clean and sober over 32 years, has fully restored himself to a useful and extremely productive member of society.

There is no charge for the evening’s events, but donations will be accepted, and reservations are requested in order to provide ample seating, food and beverages. E-mail recoveryawareness @yahoo.com to RSVP.

Individuals and families affected by substance abuse face a difficult stigma. President Terry Coffey and her husband Matt are the founders of M.O.R.A. As parents, the Coffey’s found they avoided situations where they might have to discuss their son Tim, who battles substance abuse.

“But now we realize that support from our friends and community, as well as our family, is desperately needed to cope,” said Terry.  “We created Messenger of Recovery Awareness in an attempt to try to promote change to the culture of recovery so that individuals and families affected by substance abuse do not have to suffer in silence and navigate their way through the problem without the much needed support of friends and community in addition to family support.”

Volunteers who will help carry out the longer term goals are welcome. Terry is hoping to see a community resource center sometime in 2016.

For more information, call 230-7483 or e-mail recoveryawareness @yahoo.com.