To The Daily Sun,

I have always said that I am Navigating Recovery’s first success story. In early 2016, I had just started my recovery journey and I was looking for help maintaining my sobriety. After weeks of searching, I was frustrated at the lack of services and the difficulty of navigating the system. I called the mayor’s office and was granted a meeting with Mayor Engler. He was gracious and listened to my frustrations and, although he had no answers, he knew of a group of community members who were meeting about this kind of stuff. I was invited to join them. Four months sober and really struggling, I showed up at a meeting in April of 2016, and my life changed forever. Those were the most selfless, committed people I had ever met. They became the founding members of Navigating Recovery, and I was one of them. For the first time in my life, I felt I belonged somewhere, I had a sense of purpose.

The important work done by these amazing people cannot be overstated. The organization has gone through growing pains and there have been occasional differing ideologies between people, but they care deeply about our community and about those who struggle with substance use disorder. People with Substance Use Disorder, like me, are lucky that Navigating Recovery exists. Because of this organization I have spent the almost four years of my recovery being of service to others, and I know many other success stories of once-desperate people who are now productive members of society, all because of the dedicated people at Navigating Recovery.

Thank you to those original members who encouraged me to become part of the most amazing group of caring, committed and motivated people I have ever had the pleasure to work with. If not for these people, I don’t know where I’d be today. I’d also like to take this moment to personally thank Andrew Hosmer for befriending me and helping me see that I have value and encouraging me to achieve my goals. With his encouragement, I ran in the 2018 special election for the vacant seat in the House of Representatives and won. I would never have believed in myself if it were not for his encouragement.

I have watched Andrew treat people from all walks of life in that same way. He cares deeply about people and our community. I also want to point out that, under the leadership of Daisy Pierce, this organization has grown from an idea in those early years to an organization that serves a large part of our community in a multitude of ways, including family support, working with our inmates, helping our local businesses keep good employees with their workplace assistance program and, most importantly, helping people like me see their value. Navigating Recovery has accomplished so much in these last few years and deserves to be praised and supported!!

Philip Spagnuolo


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