Meet Recovery Carrier Denise Mariano


Today’s post is the eighth in a series of interviews with folks I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and/or working with. These people embody a true life of recovery from addiction. There are some–like thousands of others–who live recovery publicly, yet quietly. This month’s Recovery Carrier shies away from the limelight but spends countless hours volunteering to make her community, her state and her nation aware that recovery is possible, available and desirable. Please enjoy this conversation with Denise Mariano. 

William White defines recovery carriers as “people, usually in recovery, who make recovery infectious to those around them by their openness about their recovery experiences, their quality of life and character, and the compassion they exhibit for those still suffering.” (, 2012)

When you hear the term “recovery carrier,” as it relates to addiction, what does that mean to you? Do you think you’re a recovery carrier?

There are countless definitions of recovery; however, my vision is that recovery is all in the journey to a better you. It’s about the small steps coming together to make change whether it is in yourself or another. I truly feel recovery is a productive process that grows through hope, personal will and freedom. While not in recovery from addiction myself, I doBeth Denise think that my journey and my family’s experience have allowed me to become a recovery carrier by nature. My hope is that sharing my story will provide that product of hope to another.

What prompted you to begin the massive amount of volunteering and advocacy work that you do? Can you tell us a little bit about some of the projects?

My volunteering and advocacy developed over time. I never intended or had a plan of hitting the pavement with a goal in mind. My story is one that mirrors thousands of others – same chorus, different verse. When I talk about the chorus, I am referring to the paralyzing pain, fear and hopelessness that we, as parents, feel when our children are struggling with addiction. It was during this time that I did hit the pavement in researching everything and anything addiction related. My goal was to gather as much knowledge as possible to understand addiction so that we could better help our son make an informed decision around treatment options for him.

Little did I know that in the end there were no options, but even more tragic, there was no treatment available for him. Our son was in a deep spiral begging for help. Every door was closed. We were denied (with insurance) treatment at every facility in New Jersey.

For more than a year, we literally begged and pleaded for help. Not only were we riding the rollercoaster of addiction in our family, we were also learning how the system fails (on so many fronts) those struggling with addiction.

(To read more of Denise’s interview, click Denise Mariano 8-14.)

Photo courtesy of krosseel

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  1. Cathy says:

    Thank you Denise and Beth! I love this Recovery Carrier series and it is wonderful to learn more Denise. She seems to be such a giving person and another asset to the recovery cause that is so needed. Thank you for sharing your story, Denise and all the great work that you are doing!

    • Beth says:

      Isn’t Denise amazing, Cathy? I knew she did a lot in the great state of New Jersey, but until the interview, I had no idea she is quite the mover and shaker. I think she’s a person who doesn’t take no for answer which is exactly what we need in the advocacy movement!

      Thanks for giving her some love!

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