Activism

Thanks, Polis: Now You Can Give Loved Ones in Recovery a Free Greeting Card

Card created by Michael Magee, an artist in recovery based in Berthoud.
Card created by Michael Magee, an artist in recovery based in Berthoud. Recovery Cards Project
As part of this state's “Lift the Label” campaign to de-stigmatize opioid addiction, Colorado is now giving away free greeting cards designed to support people in recovery from all forms of addiction and drug abuse. Ten artists, nine of whom are from Colorado and many of whom are in recovery themselves, created 34 different designs, all available online.

Governor Jared Polis — whose parents founded and later made a fortune off of greeting-card company Blue Mountain Arts, thanks to their savvy son — spoke at a press conference announcing the cards on September 19. “I grew up with greeting cards,” he told the audience. “The thoughtful content and artwork in these cards will help inspire so many people across the world in their journey to recovery.”

click to enlarge Card created by Rochelle Johnson of Denver, reading, "Addiction doesn't define you." - RECOVERY CARDS PROJECT
Card created by Rochelle Johnson of Denver, reading, "Addiction doesn't define you."
Recovery Cards Project
While giving a greeting card to someone experiencing the hardships of addiction might come off as awkward or inappropriate, the campaign has an explanation: Giving a card is better than saying nothing at all in a situation where words don't always come easily.

“We know that people need help. They need love and inspiration on the challenging and difficult path to recovery, but too often people find it daunting to figure out how and where to turn to get the care they need, and how and when and what to say to loved ones and friends dealing with substance abuse,” Polis said.


The unconventional greeting cards range from imagery and poetry intended to inspire hope and perseverance to light-hearted sketches that aim to be funny without stigmatizing those with substance-use disorder.

“We tend to make light of drug use by way of jokes or by way of sharing and laughing at videos of people acting erratically due to their high, but this is nothing funny,” Jannah Farooque, a Denver artist who created some of the cards, told the group gathered for the announcement.

One card, designed by Mila Long, a Boulder artist in recovery, depicts a rising phoenix with the words “Out of the darkest places the brightest things can be reborn.” Another, designed by PAGEFIFTYFIVE in Fort Collins, reads, “I swear to never call this a journey. Maybe a bumpy, curvy, hot mess, but not a journey. You got this.”

Five card designs are also available in Spanish.


The "Lift the Label" program is organized by the Office of Behavioral Health in the Colorado Department of Human Services. The program paid the artists from its dedicated budget, which is about about $4 million to date, according to the Department of Human Services. The cards can be shared online or ordered for free at recoverycardsproject.com.

Update, September 20: Information about the "Lift the Label" campaign's budget has been added.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Sara Fleming is a freelance writer and formal editorial fellow at Westword. She covers a wide variety of stories about local politics and communities. A born-and-raised Coloradan, when she's not exploring Denver, she's on a mission to visit every mountain town in the state.
Contact: Sara Fleming