Juneau resident John J. "Joe" Heueisen was recently selected to be Alaska's "Recovery Delegate" and will join thousands of individuals and families in recovery, treatment partners and advocates from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, to form a human chain - a living symbol of recovery - across the Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday.
The chain will proceed to a rally at City Hall Park in Lower Manhattan featuring a special solo musical performance by Rufus Wainwright. The Recovery Rally - organized in partnership with the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Inc. - marks the launch of The Recovery Project, a wide-ranging, multi-year initiative of A&E Network, federal agencies and leading nonprofit organizations designed to help raise awareness that addiction is a treatable disease and recovery is possible.
The 51 Recovery Delegates, all of whom have been in recovery for at least 10 years, submitted applications and were selected to represent their state because of their commitment to helping others overcome addiction.
By the time he was in his early teens, Heueisen had a thorough introduction to alcohol and became one of the "party boys" during high school in Juneau. Upon graduation from college, he took a job as an insurance agent and continued to drink.
"During my 30-year drinking career, I managed to stay employed but I did lose my first marriage to another alcoholic by divorce," Heueisen said. "The majority of my relatives died as a result of alcoholism. At 66, I am the oldest living member of the family."
In recovery for 21 years, Heueisen has served on The Alaska Legislative Task Force for Mental Health Parity, Juneau Health and Social Services Alcoholic Advisory Board, NCADD - Juneau Board and Rainforest Recovery Center Advisory Board.
"My strong suit is my 40 years of professional insurance experience combined with 20 years of recovery experience," Heueisen said. "This puts me in the position of being able to help people in recovery with their insurance issues."
A dedicated Web site, www.therecoveryproject.com, will list ways for viewers to get involved and provide links to charitable organizations they may wish to donate time or resources to.