Recovery journey leads Connecticut man to Appalachian Trail


Phil Valentine stops to pose with Smoky's Richie Tannerhill

Phil Valentine is a man with determination. Determination to live his live fully in recovery from alcohol and cocaine. Determination to help others like him as executive director of the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery in Hartford, near his home in Manchester.

Now, Valentine, 55, is determined to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail in celebration of his 27 years in recovery and his triumph over cancer. Along the way, he's raising funds for recovery services and visiting communities to share the message of recovery and the promise of a better life.

On April 20, Valentine took a detour to Haywood County to meet Smoky Peer and Family Support Specialist Richie Tannerhill and speak at the local Meridian Recovery Education Center. A recovery advocacy program, "Drugs in our Midst," and Waynesville police hosted a dinner in his honor.

Valentine's main message? "Recovery opens up a life of possibilities you never even dreamed existed," he said. He's also learned lessons from the trail itself. "A key concept to anyone in recovery is gratitude and attitude," he said. "So even when the trail is difficult, it's about your attitude."

Read along as Valentine updates his trail progress online and shares his experiences and insights

This article has been taken from the post News You Can Use from Smoky Mountain LME/MCO