PORTLAND, Maine — At least 21 million Americans are struggling with addiction, according to the U.S. Surgeon General's office. But the founder and publisher of Maine's first recovery magazine, Carolyn Delaney, says there is good news.
"There are more people in recovery than in active addiction," Delaney explains. Delaney, who has been in recovery herself since 1993, says she wanted to create a magazine about hope and all the good work going on in Maine.
"There is really nothing like it in the country," Delaney says as she leafs over the latest issue.
Journey’s first bimonthly issue came out in March with a circulation of 10,000. The publication is free and has been very well received.
"We want to celebrate freedom from addiction, and we want to show it is possible to not die from this disease," Delaney says.
The recovery community is often anonymous, but in Journey every article is accompanied by a picture and a first and last name. Delaney says that is very intentional, as she strives to broaden the perspective of what people in recovery look like.
"We are your mortgage holders, your bankers, your insurance people, your yoga teachers." Delaney says people she had known for 20 years did not know she was in recovery.
Jennie Joan Ferrare was featured in Journey's second issue.
"I found out I am the youngest business owner in the Old Port," Ferrare says as she shows me around her health center Arcana. The Bangor native started her road to recovery when she was 25.
"At its worst, it looked like me in a foreign country, waking up in hotels, not knowing where I was after taking pain pills...at its best, it was me seeming okay holding down a job."
Ferrare's sobriety hasn't been a walk in the park she says, but five years after starting to kick her addictions she is a business owner, a yoga instructor and a mother to a healthy young son.
Ferrare thinks Journey is filling a void because not enough stories about recovery and what it looks like are being told. She, however, is not shy with her own story.
"I was taught from a good friend of mine right away when I got sober to share my story -- that it could give someone hope and save someone’s life."
Journey is filled with stories about what recovery looks like, what is working for people, resources available and lots of helpful tips that are resonating with people in all walks of life, many who don't struggle with addiction.
"I got a call from this little old lady who said it helped me, and I don’t even have a problem with alcohol," Delaney laughs.
Delaney is getting calls from communities all over the state, hospitals and correction facilities that want the magazine.
"We’re finding that people are really connecting with a printed magazine, even though it's old school. It's getting passed around," says Delaney.
Delaney says the magazine is getting passed around and even ended up in the hands of Gov. Janet Mills, who invited Delaney and her five-member staff to her office to congratulate them on the work they are doing.
Delaney says no matter what you struggle with, we all are hungry for hope -- and that is why she thinks the magazine is taking off.
In November, the magazine will be printed monthly as they expand readership. People can also volunteer for the magazine, which has dozens of volunteers, and subscribe to it.