Two Women Win $10,000 in National Contest for Anti-Stigma PSAs That Rebrand Addiction

Contest host, Recovery Brands, awards winners for new, creative messages about addiction and behavioral health disorders

SAN DIEGO — Oct. 5, 2016 — Recovery Brands, provider of digital addiction treatment resources, today announced the winners of its three-month long LIVES (Leveraging Impactful Videos to End Stigma) Challenge. Launched to end addiction stigma by way of cultivating next-gen public service announcements (PSAs), the contest awarded two individuals $5,000 each in addition to placement on Tori Utley, founder of nonprofit, More Than An Addict, and Sydney Johnson, student at Indiana University, are the proud recipients of the Judge’s Choice Award and People’s Choice Award, respectively. The two women are passionate to bring new, positive messages to the public’s attention.

The LIVES Challenge was inspired by the company’s mission to help individuals find and evaluate the addiction treatment they need. However, one of the largest barriers in this process is stigma. Many historical messages about the disease even perpetuated the stigma by unintentionally triggering feelings of guilt, shame, judgment or isolation. Thus, the contest was born in search of a new, inspiring message that encourages compassion and open conversation about the disease and prompts people to speak out and seek treatment.

“I’m so thrilled to see companies like Recovery Brands fighting to end the stigma around addiction, because it’s so important that society begins to see valuable, potential-filled people and not just ‘addicts’,” said Utley. “This is what I’ve been working toward with my organization, More Than An Addict, and now we can make it a reality thanks to the funds awarded from the Challenge. We will be able to establish our first round of scholarship and entrepreneurial funding to empower individuals in recovery as they pursue education, employment and entrepreneurship.”

“For me, this initiative is very personal,” said Johnson. “I experienced addiction first-hand and when I couldn’t have reached a lower point in my life, there was one person who believed in me and loved me unconditionally. Because of that, I was able to come back stronger than before. I’m extremely passionate about helping others in this very situation understand that success is possible and recovery is reachable, and helping those around them realize that understanding and support have the power to change someone’s life.”

The Judge’s Choice Award ($5,000) was selected by a highly qualified panel of judges who bring a collection of diverse personal and/or professional experience of fighting addiction and the associated stigma. Each submission was evaluated by the panelists based on the creativity, impact, clarity and quality of the video. The judges include: Chris Henderson, lead guitar player of Three Doors Down; Justin Luke Riley, president and CEO of Young People in Recovery; Anne Fletcher, M.S., R.D., New York Times best-selling author of Inside Rehab; Patty Powers, nationally recognized recovery coach for A&E TV Series RelapseChris Bailey, co-founder of Hold Space; and Maia Szalavitz, neuroscience journalist and author of Unbroken Brain

The People’s Choice Award ($5,000) was selected by the public’s decision. For one month, thousands of people across the United States openly cast their votes for the video they felt was most compelling.

Additional supporters of the LIVES Challenge mission include: Young People in Recovery, Kula for Karma, Pura Vida, National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), ATTCK, A New PATH, Moms United to End the War on Drugs,, The Campaign to Change Direction, Our Young Addicts, Rise Together, Stamp Out Stigma, Hold Space and Sober Living Soulful Living.

To watch the full videos and read more about the winning participants of the Recovery Brands LIVES Challenge visit

About Recovery Brands
Recovery Brands, LLC owns and operates leading addiction treatment websites, which help millions of people struggling with addiction make informed decisions about their care. Its portfolio of authority websites, including and, provides online directories, rehab reviews, forums, and professional communities that have supported countless families in their path to pursue recovery. Treatment providers leverage the company’s marketing platform, ClientReach, to elevate their online brands through paid media packages across its network of sites. Recovery Brands is now operating as part of Sober Media Group, LLC, a digital media arm of American Addiction Centers.

For more information, visit or follow @RecoveryBrands.

Press Contact:
Ashton Tupper
PR Manager