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Road to Recovery Quilt aims to celebrate people thriving in recovery after addiction

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Posted at 7:42 PM, Jun 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-16 19:49:25-04

They're small words and phrases with personal meaning.  Nearly 500 pieces assembled by hand, and sewn together.

"I am one of those people who struggled for a very long time with my own addiction and never really thought that it was possible to recover,” Martha Cohen said.  “Here I am, 12 years later, living a life that is pretty much a miracle beyond my wildest dreams."

Cohen is a recovering alcoholic.

Her story is just one that makes up the Road to Recovery Quilt.  It's a project by The Nikki Perlow Foundation that honors people who turned their addiction around, and have stayed sober and drug free.

Along with a word or phrase, each brick has someone's name, and the date they kicked the habit and entered sobriety.

"Most quilts talk about in memory of, we went the other way, we wanted to celebrate the success and show the world about how many people are truly thriving in recovery," said president of The Nikki Perlow Foundation, Gary Perlow.

The Road to Recovery Quilt was launched last year.  It sends a powerful message, but also hopes to break the stigma of addiction by highlighting the disease can be overcome.

"The quilt itself we really feel is inspirational to people who are thinking about getting into recovery, or inspiring those who are in recovery that we want to inspire to stay the course and maintain their recovery," said board member of The Nikki Perlow Foundation Nina Merkel.

For many people, their road to recovery starts in treatment.  For the next 30 days, the quilt will be on display at Ashley Addiction Treatment in Harford County.  The first stop on the Road to Recovery Tour.

"Treatment is effective, recovery is real,” said Father Mark Hushen, CEO of Ashley Addiction Treatment.  “It happens for people and you have a whole quilt of stories that demonstrate that, so that's a great message."

A visual reminder that addiction is a disease, and there is life beyond it.

"We are not cured, we have a daily reprieve based on how we live our lives, and it's not hard at all, it's joyful, it is absolutely joyful to be a person who can be productive, happy, probably happier than the average person because I’m living a second lifetime in one life,” Cohen said.  “It's not hard."

Getting a brick on the Road to Recovery Quilt for yourself or a loved one is completely free.

Follow Catherine Hawley on Twitter @CatherineABC2 and like her on Facebook.