An international essay contest sponsored by the ATTC Network in
Partnership with Faces & Voices of Recovery and Facing Addiction

Personal stories are powerful!

As a person in recovery, you bring a unique perspective about substance use and/or mental health disorders. Your story about your personal recovery journey can transform lives.

In the tradition of the U.S.A.’s National Recovery Month, we are encouraging people across the globe who are in recovery from substance use and/or mental health disorders to help us harness the power of stories by participating in an international essay contest.

Essay Contest Guidelines

Write an essay about your personal recovery journey. In your essay, please address the following writing prompts:

  • I am speaking out about my recovery because...

  • Being in recovery has changed my life, and now I...

  • I maintain my recovery by...


Words are powerful. In your essay, please use
person-first language and avoid promoting stigma.

What is person-first language?

Person-first language speaks to the person first and their condition second. For example, instead of calling yourself an "addict," focus on yourself as a person who happens to have a disease. Say: "I am a person with a substance use disorder."

What is stigma?
Stigma is a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person. Many times people with substance use and/or mental health disorders are stigmatized because others do not understand that addiction is a disease just like other chronic diseases. Some words help to promote this false information. Avoid using these terms. Examples include: abuser, addict, drunk or junkie. So, instead of calling your family member a "drunk," describe that family member as a person who drinks too much alcohol.


1st Place

Apple iPad Pro
(9.7 inch)

2nd Place

Apple Watch

3rd Place

Garmin Vivofit
Activity Tracker

Please click on each of the topics below for important information regarding
your essay entries


All rules must be adhered to or an essay may be disqualified

  • Essays must be 300 words or less.
  • Essays must be written in English.
  • Essays must be submitted with a completed entry form; without a completed entry form, an essay will be disqualified.
  • Any essay found to be plagiarized will be automatically disqualified.
  • Only one entry per person will be accepted.

Any individual committed to recovery is eligible to participate.**

  • Submission deadline: December 31, 2016
  • Submissions can be mailed electronically to Cindy Christy
  • Submissions can be mailed to the following address and arrive by the contest deadline
  • Please include entry/release form with your submission

    UMKC / ATTC Essay Contest
    Attention: Cindy Christy
    2464 Charlotte Street
    Health Science Building, Suite 2418
    Kansas City, MO 64108

Essays will be judged in a two-tier process.

1) A Judging Panel will choose the top 20 essays using the following criteria:

a. Thoroughness of response to each statement in the essay contest guidelines;
b. Use of non-stigmatizing and person-first language;
c. Overall impression and impact of the essay.

2) Using the same criteria, an Essay Review Board will score the top 20 essays. The highest scores will be the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners. The top 20 essays will be featured in an ATTC published essay compilation booklet. See below for past published compilations.

All entrants must print, sign and return this entry / release form (one form) with their essay entree.

If you do not have access to a scanner for you signed form, you may print and sign, take a picture of the signed release from your phone and email the photo of the release to

The ATTC Network Coordinating Office will notify winners by phone or email no later than February 1, 2017. Essay winners will be announced in the February electronic publication of the ATTC Messenger and on the ATTC Network Website.

Essay Contest Press Release

* No federal grant dollars were used for prize purchases.
** Former and/or current ATTC Network staff and/or consultants are ineligible to participate.