Recovery International Celebrates 80th Year

Recovery International—the “granddaddy” of non-profit mental health self-help groups—is celebrating its 80th anniversary with a year-long series of local, regional and national activities. Often imitated, we are the original. Initially founded as The Association of Former Mental Patients and Their Relatives in 1937, it soon changed its name to Recovery, Inc., to avoid the stigma of mental illness pervasive in society. Recovery’s original purpose was to help those who had successfully been treated with shock or insulin therapy re-enter society and avoid the cycle of re-hospitalization.

Dr. Abraham A. Low, a neuropsychiatrist with the Psychiatric Institute at the University of Illinois, worked with his patients to develop techniques of self-help that would augment outpatient treatments by professionals. Eventually, Dr. Low’s lectures and practices evolved into the Recovery Method, a rigorous leader training and meeting standard including readings, four-step examples, and “spotting” techniques.

Recovery meetings are peer-led by trained, volunteer leaders who have experienced and benefitted from the RI Method themselves. Today, Recovery International provides tools for people to deal with depression, anxiety, fear and various forms of mental illness. Each week, RI offers more than 500 meetings in 40 areas throughout the United States, Canada, Ireland, and Puerto Rico. Participants and members live in more than 20 countries throughout the world, with books available in English, Spanish and French. In addition to in-person meetings, we offer more than 30 phone, web, chat and Facebook meetings per week.


Activities to celebrate the anniversary year include:

  • “My Dear Ones” Phone interview with Phyllis Low Berning, Marilyn Low Schmitt
  • and Treasure Ann Rice held February 28, 2017
  • New Member Cards with our favorite “spots” on them
  • Lapel Pin Awards for Life Members and Long-time Leaders
  • Celebration Brunch and Annual Meeting in Chicago, May 20, 2017
  • Western Leaders’ Conference in San Diego, November 4-5, 2017
  • Pilot test of Veteran’s Program
  • Various local picnics and celebrations throughout the country
  • Other activities as opportunities arise!


A full press kit including a timeline/history of RI, examples of Recovery, comments from young participants, and historic press clippings is available. Local Area and Group Leaders throughout the country are available for interview upon request. Recovery International is a 501-c-3 not for profit corporation chartered in Illinois. RI is governed by a nine-member Board of Directors from six states and Ireland. Staff work out of headquarters in Oak Brook, IL and satellite locations. We operate on funds collected through donations, grants, sponsorships, memberships, book sales and bequests.

For more information contact Sandra Wilcoxon, Executive Director, at 312-962- 5991 or

80th Year Celebration


September 2, 2020 originally posted