7th Annual Russ Wilson Essay Contest

Congratulations to our winners! 

1st Place: Patty Wildasinn | 2nd Place: Ellen Zhang | 3rd Place: Calliese Connor

Russ Wilson was a close, personal friend of CCAR and Executive Director Phil Valentine. He was a father, a son, a brother, a friend, a proud man in recovery, and a true inspiration to so many. Unfortunately, Russ passed away suddenly and unexpectedly June 28th, 2014 at the age of 55 years old.

To commemorate the loss of such a valued member of the recovery community, and to celebrate Russ’s passion for writing, CCAR sponsors an annual writing contest and rewards authors with a cash prize in his honor.

Russ Professional

To Enter

Compose an original 1500 (max) word essay that supports this year’s theme.

Submit your essay below or mail it to 75 Charter Oak Avenue 1-305 Hartford CT, 06106 (Attn: Essay Contest) by the submission deadline 6/15/23.

See complete contest rules for official submission guidelines, eligibility and judging criteria.

Contest Theme

 "Multiple Pathways"


Winners will be announced via CCAR's Facebook Page and awarded the following prizes:

  • 1st Place: $500
  • 2nd Place: $250
  • 3rd Place: $100

Submission Guidelines:

Contest begins at 12:01 am EST on May 1, 2023 and runs through 11:59 pm EST on June 15, 2023. Submissions must be typed, double-spaced, and must not exceed 1,500 words. Essays exceeding this length or handwritten may not be considered. Microsoft Documents are preferred. Be sure to include your name, address, and phone number in the essay.

Submissions can be entered HERE or mailed to 75 Charter Oak Avenue Hartford, CT 06106 Attn: Essay Contest Submission.  Please be aware that due to the volume of submissions, we cannot send verification that we have received your specific submission by mail. All submitted essays must be original works of nonfiction.  Void where prohibited by law.  Entries will not be returned.


Anyone can submit an essay.  You do not have to be in personal recovery. CCAR staff, Board and their family members are NOT eligible. Russ' family members, CCAR staff and selected individuals from the recovery community will select the winners.  Winning essays, and parts of essays, will be used by CCAR to promote recovery through social media, featured on our podcast, website and printed material.

Judging criteria:

Originality (25% percent), creativity (25% percent), use of language (25% percent) and appropriateness to contest theme (25% percent). No supporting materials will be considered, and they cannot be returned to you if you choose to send. Here are a few pointers from the people who will judge the contest:

Stick to the contest theme, double check your spelling, avoid cliché’s, don’t submit your first draft- it takes a lot of work to craft an award- winning essay.

Any questions? Email slucas@ccar.us

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