Breaking the Stigma: Gary Rutherford’s TEDx Talk on Addiction and Recovery

Breaking the Stigma: Gary Rutherford’s TEDx Talk on Addiction and Recovery


Join us for a groundbreaking TEDx talk that challenges the stigma surrounding addiction and offers a fresh perspective rooted in hope. Gary Rutherford explores the transformative power of reframing addiction as a journey of resilience, growth, and recovery. Gary Rutherford, a registered Mental Health Nurse and addiction therapist, delivers an inspiring and thought-provoking talk that resonates deeply with anyone impacted by addiction.

A Professional and Personal Journey

Gary Rutherford is not only a dedicated mental health professional but also a person in long-term recovery from substance abuse. His personal experience with addiction fuels his passion for helping others. In 2019, Gary founded ARC Fitness, a non-profit organisation based in Derry/L’Derry. ARC Fitness supports individuals impacted by addiction through physical activity, professional support, and community engagement.

Challenging Stigma

Gary’s TEDx talk centres on breaking the stigma associated with addiction. He emphasises that addiction is not a moral failing but a complex health issue. By sharing his own journey and professional insights, Gary provides a compelling narrative that shifts the focus from shame to resilience and recovery.

Reframing Addiction

A Journey of Resilience and Growth

In his talk, Gary reframes addiction as a journey of resilience and growth. He highlights the importance of viewing recovery as a process that involves overcoming obstacles and developing strength. This perspective fosters hope and encourages individuals to see their potential for transformation.

The Role of Physical Activity

Gary underscores the transformative power of physical activity in the recovery process. At ARC Fitness, physical exercise is a core component of their support programme. Physical activity not only improves physical health but also enhances mental well-being and fosters a sense of community.

Professional Support and Community

A Holistic Approach to Recovery

ARC Fitness combines physical activity with professional support and community engagement. Gary believes that a holistic approach is essential for sustained recovery. Professional support provides the necessary tools and guidance, while community involvement offers a sense of belonging and mutual support.

Recognised Excellence

Gary’s innovative approach has not gone unnoticed. In 2022, he was awarded ‘RCN Nurse of the Year’ by the Royal College of Nursing. This accolade is a testament to his dedication and the positive impact of his work in the field of addiction recovery.


Gary Rutherford’s TEDx talk is a powerful testament to the possibilities of recovery and the importance of challenging the stigma surrounding addiction. By sharing his personal journey and professional expertise, Gary offers a message of hope and resilience. His work with ARC Fitness exemplifies how physical activity, professional support, and community can come together to support individuals on their road to recovery.

Gary’s TEDx talk is an invitation to view addiction through a new lens—one that recognises the strength and potential within every individual. To learn more about this inspiring talk, visit TEDx.