UES 62

ROOM W I T H A V I EW

FACING ADDICTION FINDS A HOME IN AN UPPER EAST SIDE LIVING ROOM By NoamWaksman

I have been to way too many of my friends’ funerals because of addiction,” is something no twenty-three- year-old should have to say. A group of New York teenagers are working to enact changes so that, hopefully, they won’t have to say the same thing in a few years. Every month, over thirty kids from private high schools across Manhattan gather in a living room on the Upper East Side to face the addiction crisis head on. At the meetings they share good food, a tangible understanding of the dark realities of addiction, and a common mission:

to spread awareness, combat stigma, and create a healthy dialogue around addiction in their communities. Some of them are beginning to deal with their own struggles with drugs and alcohol. Others have family members or friends who are struggling. And a few—like the one who has been to too many funerals—are a little older, having already been down that dark path and emerged sober and willing to share their experiences with the kids at the high schools they attended not long ago. But all of them are there because of Robin, and it’s in her living room that they meet. Robin is a mom to three teenagers in Manhattan private schools, passionate about working with kids to spread awareness of the addiction crisis and a positive message of recovery. She is on the Board of Directors at Facing Addiction with NCADD —a national non-profit organization dedicated to reducing the stigma and finding solutions to the addiction crisis—and the founder of their Young Leadership Program, which meets in her living room once a month. A big part of her passion stems from the fact that she is a person in long-term recovery, herself. “I was a cocaine addict and I am celebrating twenty-five years clean this month,” she said on a Sunday morning in late February. “I really struggled at

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