Show me the Evidence

Recovery is a reality. It is a hopeful statement for an existing and growing many In the midst of a serious addiction crisis, in which 72,000 people died from overdoses in 2019. The pandemic created an environment for acceleration of these numbers and the unfortunate attraction of substances (alcohol and other drugs) to relieve boredom and depression.  And so, it can be easy to forget that recovery is not only possible to recover from old or newly acquired addiction but is the reality for nearly 10 percent of U.S. adults. We are the evidence. The “We” gratefully include me. This evidence holds hope for acceleration in support of solutions to growing substance use disorders (SUD). As we speak of the Pandemic environment, we seek the positives. Time can be on our side but must be used wisely. If we are not earning, we should be learning. In my latest blog, I expressed my delight to be a part of the virtual Recovery Leadership Summit sponsored and conducted by Faces & Voices of Recovery. The learning experience can pay off big. There is more to come. The virtual world has merit through selective learning and social sensibility. It will be of benefit to the establishment of health and well-being and even might allow being better than well.  


I’m back in California after a 20-year absence. California dreaming is now California screaming and scheming. Maybe always was, just not as evident. Some things do not change. Whether more or less, mental health issues, including substance use disorders exist. Though not ignored, go on under-recognized and under-funded. I live in Orange County. Politics have a place, but not in the world of addiction. It has a different view on the meaning of party. The science of addiction explains the reason.  


I have no place for PC—Political Correctness. I focus on another PC—Preserve Connections. I was living in Denver when Phoenix Multisport was born —now The Phoenix and maintained a relationship over the years. It has a presence in Orange County, and it was among my first contacts. That contact led to the introduction to two individuals destined to bring me smack dab back into the recovery arena. No names now, just reasons and rationale. One desired to start a Recovery Community Organization (RCO) in Orange County. Having knowledge and initiative for engaging in the process and an amazing work ethic, she continued to construct the fundamental aspects of development of an RCO. The details of the work are too much to tell, so will reveal the outcome later. The second individual was a mom with a son recovering from addiction.  She engaged with others and observed the process of recovery for family and individual and the plus and minuses apparent. Through her foundation, she supports other social service providers. She became aware of the value of assistance from of those in recovery and wished and had a passion to develop a way to provide this. From the time we met, I engaged in being a part of the whole process through my knowledge and lived experience with RCOs, peer recovery support services and with peer coaching as an important element.  


Amazingly, following Pandemic protocols, we three have not physically met. All work and communication have been virtual through email, Zoom, and occasional phone call. We have attended events and conferences apart yet together and shared knowledge and learning. We are focusing on existing resources related to recovery support services. We have connected with other RCOs in other states. Their support and shared knowledge were so helpful and sets an example of the collective support available for start-up RCOs. Now the outcome: We have established a Recovery Community Organization, incorporated and established as a 501c3, and named it The Purpose of Recovery. We have tapped the treasure trove of resources available on the Faces & Voices website. We have applied to early membership in ARCO and had a tutorial on the Recovery Data Platform. Our development work continues. Enough of the story.  More will be revealed.  


Evidence of the effectiveness of peer recovery support services is recognized and growing.  Yet, many states and communities still lack the capacity to construct and implement effective peer recovery support services. They need to understand and communicate the value of developing recovery capital. More funding is available to providers through federalstate and corporate grants, and foundations, in support of reduced local community revenues. One import aspect of the Recovery Data Platform is to collect and consolidate data from the subscribers and report and present data for serious financial and social support consideration by states, counties, and communities.  This will grow the evidence of the reality of recovery awaiting those who are being denied access to those economical benefits that serve self and society.  


Merlyn Karst 

Recovery Ambassador