Helping Hands – Art Rooted in Recovery

Helping Hands – Art Rooted in Recovery

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Everyone can be a Change Agent in Recovery

© by Robin M. Gilliam

In July, I joined the Recovery Anne Arundel team for the Forest of Hope painting workshop. I was presently surprised when we did an exercise to express our recovery. We were to paint – “What does recover mean to me.” To me, recovery is about helping hands.

        Wow – how creating lights me up better than drugs every could!

Robin M. Gilliam – Recovery Date 2/6/91

Founder/Director of Recovery Art Studio


I believe that recovery takes a community effort – hands reaching out to each other, reaching out to the still suffering addict, to the one just journeying into recovery, to friends and family members who are lost and confused, to the first responders who work to save lives of overdose victims (I almost lost my life to a crack cocaine overdose in 1986), to local and federal law enforcement working to stop the drug trade, to the recovery professionals who hear so many intense sad stories in order to help one more person live another in the light of recovery, to those in long-term recovery to keep us strong and focused.

The Nikki Perlow FoundationForest of Hope project – started out of a family’s NIGHTMARE – the loss of a child to an accidental drug overdose.


 Please join me as a volunteer to paint on September 16, 2017, join us for a celebration lunch (tickets must be reserved in advance), or donate to help save another child’s life by providing recovery resources.


Please enter the following information so that our tree gets credit:

Team Leader = Robin Gilliam

Name of Person You Are Sponsoring = Recovery Anne Arundel




When I was sitting vigil at the University of Maryland Medical Center oncology ward watching Dirk – my husband – fighting cancer, I received an email from Gary Perlow. Gary asked if I wanted to paint a tree in the Forest of Hope on September 16, 2017. My first reaction was – WOW! Yes, what a wonderful creative way to recognize our recovery journeys and raise money to help others. This fits right in with my mission for Recovery Art Studio.

Then the reality of being a caretaker for a cancer patient set in and I had to say no. That was mid- April. Who knew what September was going to bring. And, I didn’t think I would have time to coordinate a team or raise funds.




Then in July, I got an email from Carol Boyer of Delphi Health Group (another volunteer with Recovery Anne Arundel) about a painting workshop for the Forest of Hope for the Recovery Anne Arundel tree and did I want to join. That was around 3 months after treatment ended and Dirk was starting to recover and my caretaker duties were not as demanding. Rob Devereaux from Ashley Treatment was coordinating the Recovery Anne Arundel team for the workshop. So I said YES!

That workshop was the most exciting creative day I had ever been involved with – I get so charged from creating and being around a group of creatives. Such a better high than drugs ever gave me.

Rob had a previous commitment to speak at a recovery conference on September 16 and asked me if I would lead the tree painting experience. Of course I said yes! Funny how that worked out!



Our vision for painting the Recovery Anne Arundel tree was the 12 steps as a roadmap for recovery and hands that are always there to help someone find their way out of the darkness of addiction and into the light of recovery. Your hands can help too.



Please enter the following information so that our tree gets credit:

Team Leader = Robin Gilliam

Name of Person You Are Sponsoring = Recovery Anne Arundel




 On September 16, 2017, over 500 peopleWOW!!! – will join together to paint 50 trees donated by the Oregon Ridge Park in Baltimore County, Maryland to help break the stigma of addiction and shine hope on recovery.

Wow! What an epic environmental recovery art project. Don’t worry, the paint does not damage the trees – that was one of my concerns too…

Now here comes my least favorite, but most necessary part – the fund raising.

This is like a walk-a-thon. But not – it’s a recovery-a-thon where we paint 25 feet of tree instead of walking 25 miles.  We are asking that you donate a certain amount (within your budget & tax deductible) per feet to help save another young person’s life.


 The goal for each tree is to raise $3,000 for recovery education and scholarships for the Nikki Perlow Foundation. Nikki sadly lost her life to this disease and through this foundation, her parents/family are healing a little each day as they help other young adults in their recovery journey



Please enter the following information so that our tree gets credit:

Team Leader = Robin Gilliam

Name of Person You Are Sponsoring = Recovery Anne Arundel



Recovery Art Studio strives to educate, encourage, and empower recovery through art and is grateful to join this amazing historic recovery art environmental event by leading the painting of the Recovery Anne Arundel Tree in the Forest of Hope.

If you have any questions, please email me at or call/text me at (410) 610-6753.



Robin M. Gilliam is an artist and author in long-term recovery since February 6, 1991. Robin uses the healing power of art and the spiritual principles of the 12 steps to maintain her recovery and teaches these amazing transformational tools and techniques through her workshops. She is also a keynote speaker where she shares her recovery journey.

If you like this blog, you will love her novel, Gift of Desperation, where you will meet Claire and journey with her out of the darkness and into hope – inspired by over 20 years of true addiction/recovery stories – and available in eBook or softback at Amazon.