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Bus Tour to Inspire New Perspectives on Addiction, Mental Health

February 05, 2019
Along with their two children and family dog, Robyn Cruze, MA, and her husband, Tim Harrington, are about to embark on a 10-month journey to expand conversations and reduce stigma around addiction, recovery and mental health, one city at a time across the United States. Their Wide Wonder bus tour kicks off in Dallas on Feb. 9, with more than 35 additional stops to come. The idea for the tour stemmed from a discussion between the couple nearly two years ago, says Harrington, an emotional health advocate and family recovery support specialist. Harrington says he had begun pondering what the couple’s legacy would be. Meanwhile, Cruze, a published author and the national recovery advocate for Eating Recovery Center, had recently moved her father into an assisted living facility in her family’s native Australia. Reflecting on her own recovery from an eating disorder and her father’s struggles with alcoholism and mental health, Cruze says she felt motivated to take on a new project to help more people struggling with addiction and mental health challenges. The answer for Cruze and Harrington’s big-picture questions was found in a 250-square-foot “tiny home” on wheels—a remodeled school bus that could travel from coast to coast and serve as a home-away-from-home. “How do we go into those pockets of places where people are in desperate need of resources and education on mental health?” Cruze says. “Not only that, but creating this new perspective and new dialogue of recovery. We focus so much in this country on the epidemic, and we honor that. There has to be equal amount given to, ‘Hey, if you have an addiction, you can live through it. If you have mental health, you can live through it.’ Tim’s question of what our legacy is, and my kind of yearning to get out and help more people, it just seems like the perfect setup for us.” Tour stops will include discussions led by Cruze and Harrington, as well as food and live music. “We want to shift the conversation from symptoms and behaviors to causes, human conditions and social conditions that are driving this increase in mental illness and substance use disorder,” Harrington says. “We also want to talk about how our themes will be sort of the opposite of the strong themes out there now. A lot of the way of communicating about substance use disorder is fear-based. ‘You can die from this.’ Jails, death, institutions. We’re going to talk about our theme with addiction that is you can live from it. We’re going to do a lot of turning things around 180 degrees to bridge this fear with hope.” Cruze and Harrington will film interviews and produce blogs and podcasts to chronicle their journey. Additional details about the tour can be found on the project’s website, widewonder.life.
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