Russ Wilson Essay Contest

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 on 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.


2024 Contest is now closed. Good luck to all who submitted!

Contest Theme: Transitions

To Enter: Compose an original 1500 (max) word essay that supports this year’s theme. Submit your essay to online or mail it to 75 Charter Oak Avenue 1-305 Hartford CT, 06106 (Attn: Essay Contest) by the submission deadline of 6/12/24.

Prizes: 1 Place: $500 | 2nd Place: $250 | 3rd Place: $100

Submission Guidelines: Contest begins at 12:01 am EST on May 1, 2024 and runs through 11:59 pm EST on June 12, 2024. 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/PDFs are preferred. Be sure to include your name, address, and phone number on the essay itself. All submitted essays must be original works of nonfiction. Void where prohibited by law. Entries will not be returned.

Eligibility: 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, may 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.

Russ Professional

Any questions? Email

Scroll to Top