Art of Recovery Expo offers judgment-free zone for those battling addiction, disorders

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

A free expo today at the Phoenix Convention Center gave people struggling with addiction a safe, comfortable environment to ask questions. They offer a judgment-free zone where people can get help.

"I'm in recovery from heroin addiction," said Carissa Denny. "I've been sober for just over two years."

Denny said the Art of Recovery Expo makes people feel comfortable sharing their stories and asking questions. 

"Just being with everybody and not being ashamed," Denny said. "It gets the word out and lets everyone know that anything is possible, recovery is possible, and not be ashamed to go get help."

"Meet new people and it gives me encouragement, it helps me in my recovery personally, because I can have an opportunity to share parts of my story and hear other people's stories," Angela Tofanelli said.

She has come a long way to find sobriety. 

"It started with self mutilation and it led to pills, alcohol and to crystal meth and a couple of other drugs," Tofanelli said.

She comes to the expo and learns new coping skills and what's worked for others.

"Just to be able to come here and talk to these people calms me down, it gives me encouragement," she said.

From counselors to clinics, each booth offers help, and not just for drug dependency; people with eating disorders and gambling addictions can also get help here. 

"It gives me a chance to share my hopes of having a booth myself next year, to spread awareness for self injury because that's another resource that needs to be available," Tofanelli said.

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Lindsey ReiserLindsey Reiser is a Scottsdale native and an award-winning multimedia journalist.

Click to learn more about Lindsey

Lindsey Reiser

Lindsey returned to the Valley in 2010 after covering border and immigration issues in El Paso, TX. While in El Paso she investigated public corruption, uncovered poor business practices, and routinely reported on the violence across the border.

Lindsey feels honored to have several awards under her belt, including a Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Award, Hearst Journalist Award, and several National Broadcast Education Association Awards.

Lindsey is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, and she currently serves as a mentor to journalism students. She studied for a semester in Alicante, Spain and also earned a degree in Spanish at ASU.

She is proud to serve as a member of United Blood Services’ Community Leadership Council, a volunteer advisory board for the UBS of Arizona.

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