Recovery Community Responsibility Agreement

Recovery Community Responsibility Agreement

February 7, 2020
Petition to
Recovery Community
Signatures: 539Next Goal: 1,000
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Why this petition matters

Started by Mariel Hufnagel

February 7, 2020

Dear Friends & Colleagues, 

This last week has been painful and confusing for many - with an outpouring of very serious allegations against a popular public leader in the recovery movement. Perhaps more devastating, has been the environment of fear-mongering, and hostility towards the victims.

Unfortunately this week is symbolic of much larger systemic issues - the emersion of abuse and apathy in the prevention, treatment, recovery and harm reduction space(s); and a society that capitalizes on white male privilege, and the exploitation and silencing of the marginalized and vulnerable. This may be experienced by some as an inflammatory, or even a political statement – it is not intended to be. I simply believe that in order to make any real progress we must challenge the status quo by courageously identifying and dismantling the institutional sexism & racism which fosters the very culture which enables – and, even in some cases encourage – bad actors and their behavior.  

Only with uncomfortability – honest dialogue and self-reflection – can we grow as individuals, leaders, organizations and a field. Will you remain stagnant and silent out of apathy, convenience or fear of other’s perceptions? Or, are you willing to do the work? I am. 

Please reflect on the following 5 questions:

  1. Do I and/or my organization take a proactive stance against racism, sexism, xenophobia, and any other form of hateful rhetoric, abuse, and/or discrimination?
  2. Do I and/or my organization embody a culture that not only believes victims; but empowers, encourages and supports them? 
  3. Do I and/or my organization challenge comments that blame victim(s) for what has happened to them, by letting people know that victim shaming is inappropriate and offensive?
  4. Do I and/or my organization hold people and organizations accountable when we see abuse (physical, sexual or emotional/psychological) via narcissism, sexism or racism? 
  5. Do I and/or my organization stand up against perpetrators, or co-sign their behavior by keeping quiet to avoid liability and/or embarrassment?  

If your answer was no, to one, or all, of the aforementioned questions, then please ask the most urgent question: "WHAT CAN I DO?"

I have come to understand, that if I am not helping, I am hurting. I can and I will, do better in calling people out for their behaviors and attitudes which are hurtful, abusive and/or exploitative. I will not watch idly as individuals in or seeking recovery are being hurt. 

As leaders – individuals and organizations – in the prevention, treatment, recovery and harm reduction space(s) we must be held to only the highest of standards. We must also take responsibility for being our brother’s and sister’s keeper – by using our voices and our actions to hold ourselves, others and organizations accountable. Even when this means standing against one of 'our own.' As a field, we can no longer minimize or turn a blind eye. We must do better.

Together, with the thought leadership of some amazing friends, colleagues and mentors, we have developed the following agreement. I proudly share with you the RECOVERY COMMUNITY RESPONSIBILITY AGREEMENT:

  • I PLEDGE as a professional / organization in the prevention, treatment, recovery and/or harm reduction space(s);
  • I UNDERSTAND that I AM RESPONSIBLE for incorporating recovery principles into my personal and professional life.
  • I RECOGNIZE & AFFIRM that everyone deserves to be safe and respected.
  • I WILL act with integrity and hold myself and others accountable.

As a community, let's join together!

This is not a call for perfection, nor am I attempting to tout my perfection. I am wildly imperfect. But, it is a commitment personally and professionally to be and do better, and a plea for our community to be and do better...  I will strive to have the humility and courage to self-examine and correct when necessary. I will strive to always speak truth to power. I will strive to have the integrity and fortitude to lead an organization that always puts its mission and the people it serves first. Please feel free to hold me accountable to this.


With love & in service, 

Mariel S. Hufnagel, MPA, CPRS

Pronouns: she/her(s)

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Signatures: 539Next Goal: 1,000
Support now